Hundreds of illegal migrants attempting to leave El Paso have been arrested by border agents in recent days, largely while using commercial buses.
The United States Border Patrol reported 420 encounters over Christmas including either foreign nationals who boarded buses intending to travel deep into the United States without authority or private vehicles involved in human smuggling. At least 304 of them were held by border agents at checkpoints on Interstate 10 in Las Cruces and other locations regarded as the entrances to the interior of the nation.
According to Carlos A. Rivera, acting supervisory agent for the U.S. Border Patrol, “if (citizens) are preparing to help migrants in leaving town or in enabling transportation to migrants, they are dedicating a crime and could be processed under (U.S. Code) 1324, which is sheltering and alien smuggling. There are numerous non-governmental groups where residents of El Paso might volunteer if they wish to help these migrants.
The increase is brought on by groups of Venezuelans and Central Americans who just crossed the border wall but are currently stuck in El Paso. On Wednesday, several migrants gathered in front of the El Paso County Courthouse to demand permission to move on to professions in Florida and New York.