EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) — Carrying a giant U.S. flag, dozens of Venezuelan migrants crossed the Rio Grande onto U.S. soil and demanded to be allowed in.
Since Oct. 12, Venezuelans have been subject to expulsions under Title 42 — a health order that allows border authorities to remove migrants without allowing them to request asylum — and many have been camping out next to the river, pleading with U.S. officials to let them like the thousands who had been let in just weeks prior.
On Monday, a large group of migrants marched on Bernardo Borzagaray Boulevard toward the border, shouting, “We want to go in.”
They carried a gigantic U.S. flag that read, “We, the migrants, built America.”
As dozens of migrants — including some carrying young children — walked across ankle-deep waters in the river, dozens of U.S. Border Patrol agents responded, including some in tactical gear.
Some Venezuelan migrants told and KTSM/Border Report crew in Juarez that some Central-American migrants threw rocks at the border agents, prompting them to fire rubber bullets.
Video circulating on social media shows dozens of agents pushing the crowd back across the river and firing pepper balls at some of the migrants, including a man carrying a flagpole with a giant Venezuelan flag.
In a statement to Border Report, a CBP spokesman said a group of Venezuelan nationals attempted to illegally enter the United States while protesting along the Rio Grande near Downtown El Paso.
CBP said one of the protesters assaulted an agent with a flag pole, and a second subject threw a rock, injuring an agent
“Agents responded by initiating crowd control measures,” the statement said. “These measures included the use of the authorized less-lethal force pepperball launching system. The crowd then dispersed and returned to Mexico.”
CBP said the agency’s Office of Professional Responsibility will review the incident.
CPB said agents continue to monitor the situation at the border, and further information may be provided as it becomes available.
U.S. Rep. Veronica Escobar, D-Texas, also issued a statement, saying she immediately reached out to Acting Chief Patrol Agent Peter Jacquez for a briefing and to the U.S. Consulate in Juárez to discuss the situation.
“I am concerned about everyone’s safety and security in the area, and I will remain in contact with all involved to closely monitor and gather more information as it becomes available,” Escobar said.
Early last week, Juarez officials told Venezuelan migrants they could no longer sleep on the streets near the Paso del Norte International Bridge and offered to bus them to shelters, but some of the migrants said they were afraid they would be taken into custody and repatriated.
Instead, the migrants began setting up their tents along the levee last Tuesday night.
The camp is located directly across from the U.S. Border Patrol’s West Bridge temporary migrant processing facility in El Paso, Texas.
Under the Oct. 12 policy, the Biden administration recently agreed to accept up to 24,000 Venezuelans at U.S. airports if they apply for asylum online with financial sponsors, similar to how Ukrainians have been admitted since Russia’s invasion. Mexico has said it will take back Venezuelans who cross the border into the U.S. and are expelled under Title 42 authority.