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Latin Times
Latin Times
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El Paso judge calls on Texas to assist in processing and holding migrants amid overwhelmed local jails

Members of the Texas National Guard stand guard on the banks of the Rio Bravo river, as seen from Ciudad Juarez (Credit: Reuters)

Officials from El Paso are asking Texas authorities to use its own resources to process and jail migrants that have been recently arrested.

The request comes after state authorities apprehended some 200 migrants after some cut razor wire at the border along the Rio Grande and tried to approach Border Patrol. They were hit with rioting charges.

In that context, County Judge Ricardo Samaniego told local broadcaster KTSM that "we can handle this one, but if tomorrow we have a number this size... no more space and the District Attorney would not have the resources to process them."

According to the Border Report, migrants are held in jails when they face local charges. Otherwise they are taken to a Customs and Border Protection processing facility.

El Paso's Downtown County Jail can currently hold up to a little over 700 people, while the Far East Annex can hold an additional 1,800. Officials told the outlet the former is at full capacity, the latter being at 94%.

A similar incident took place almost a month ago, when over 200 migrants were arrested after being involved in a gate rush leading to a border breach, also in El Paso.

Local DA Bill Hicks said that Texas National Guard members were injured in the incident, where nine migrants cut through barbed wire and assaulted the National Guard members before more than 400 migrants rushed the gate before reaching another fence.

Most of them were arrested on misdemeanor rioting charges, while seven of the nine people involved in the wire-cutting have been indicted on felony charges or rioting and assaulting a public servant. Governor Greg Abbott said that more than 700 National Guard troops were sent to El Paso after the breach.

Texas has been implementing different measures aimed at deterring immigrants from crossing into the state unlawfully, the most salient one being SB4, the state law allowing authorities to arrest and deport those caught in these circumstances.

The law has been put on hold by an appeals court in late March, but the Abbott administration has been looking for other ways to reduce the numbers.

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