El Paso Judge Orders Release of Migrants Arrested in Southern Border Riot That Overwhelmed US Soldiers

A magistrate judge ordered an unknown number of illegal immigrants accused of participating in a “border riot” last month to be released, but it’s not clear that he had much choice in the matter.

Magistrate Judge Humberto Acosta said that there were “hundreds of arrestees” who were entitled to hearings within 48 hours of their being charged with “riot participation,” the El Paso Times reported Sunday.

Assistant District Attorney Ashley M. Martinez had asked to delay the hearings, a request the judge denied.

“So if the DA’s office is telling me that they are not ready to go, what we’re going to do is we’re going to release all these individuals on their own recognizance,” Acosta said.

It was unclear whether the continuance requested by Martinez was even possible under the law, given the apparent requirement cited by Acosta that the hearings occur within two days.


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It was also unclear whether Acosta’s ruling applied only to the charges of “riot participation” or also to “assault and criminal mischief charges related to the chaotic border rush,” the Times noted.

Any illegals in custody facing a “federal immigration hold” would not be released, the outlet said. It was not immediately known whether that applied to any of the individuals present for Sunday’s online teleconference bond hearing.

Additional defendants were scheduled to appear for a similar hearing Monday.

“The arrests were made by the Texas Department of Public Safety in connection with a March 21 stampede of asylum-seeking migrants — mostly men from Venezuela — who torn down razor wire along the Rio Grande and rushed the border fence at Border Safety Initiative Marker No. 36 in the Riverside area of El Paso’s Lower Valley,” the Times reported.

Should these suspects have been kept behind bars?

“Some migrants face charges of assault of a public servant for knocking down Texas National Guard troops before order was regained,” the outlet continued. “The migrants had sought to surrender themselves to U.S. Border Patrol in bids for asylum or other immigration relief.”

The Times did not know how many of the illegals taken into custody by the DPS faced the rioting charge.

Last week, according to the outlet, an additional 700 members of the Texas National Guard deployed to the El Paso area in response to the surging number of illegal border crossings there.

The deployed troops included “infantry, scouts, mechanics and medics,” according to the outlet.

The southwest land border in Texas saw 68,260 illegal border crossings in January alone, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection data cited by Newsweek.


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Newsweek reached out to the El Paso County Courts for an update, but the Times noted that most county offices were closed Monday for César Chávez Day.

Less than a month ago, also in the El Paso area, a 22-year-old illegal immigrant from Lebanon who attempted to cross the southern border was captured and, two days later, confessed to officials that he was a member of a terrorist organization and planned to build a bomb and detonate it.

Basel Bassel Ebbadi was apprehended on March 9 by the Border Patrol and was asked during interviews with medical staff what he planned to do in America.

“I’m going to try to make a bomb,” he said.

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George Upper is the former Editor-in-Chief of The Western Journal and was a weekly co-host of “WJ Live,” powered by The Western Journal. He is currently a contributing editor in the areas of faith, politics and culture. A former U.S. Army special operator, teacher and consultant, he is a lifetime member of the NRA and an active volunteer leader in his church. Born in Foxborough, Massachusetts, he has lived most of his life in central North Carolina.

George Upper, is the former editor-in-chief of The Western Journal and is now a contributing editor in the areas of faith, politics and culture. He currently serves as the connections pastor at Awestruck Church in Greensboro, North Carolina. He is a former U.S. Army special operator, teacher, manager and consultant. Born in Massachusetts, he graduated from Foxborough High School before joining the Army and spending most of the next three years at Fort Bragg. He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English as well as a Master’s in Business Administration, all from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He and his wife life only a short drive from his three children, their spouses and his grandchildren. He is a lifetime member of the NRA and in his spare time he shoots, reads a lot of Lawrence Block and John D. MacDonald, and watches Bruce Campbell movies. He is a fan of individual freedom, Tommy Bahama, fine-point G-2 pens and the Oxford comma.


Foxborough, Massachusetts




Beta Gamma Sigma


B.A., English, UNCG; M.A., English, UNCG; MBA, UNCG


North Carolina

Languages Spoken


Topics of Expertise

Faith, Business, Leadership and Management, Military, Politics

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