The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced a planned immigration enforcement operation to curtail the flow of migrants crossing the border into El Paso. As nearly two thousand released migrants seek shelter and food in the heart of the city, DHS announced the plan slated to begin on Tuesday. The National Border Patrol Council sharply criticized the plan on Twitter, calling it a “sad joke – another pandering PR stunt”.
According to the DHS announcement, the agency will conduct targeted enforcement actions involving ICE and CBP officers. Those arrested, according to DHS, will be processed for vetting and placement into Title 42 expulsion or Title 8 removal proceedings. Those who pose a threat to national security or public safety will be transferred to ICE for detention.
Within the announcement, DHS advised the public, including migrants, they would adhere to guidelines that preclude immigration enforcement agencies, including CBP and ICE, from conducting enforcement operations near schools, churches, hospitals, and areas where essential services are rendered.
This advisory drew quick criticism from the labor union that represents rank-and-file Border Patrol agents for alerting migrants and human smugglers of Tuesday’s planned operation. In a tweet sent out shortly after the announcement, the union sarcastically posted the following comment — “Nothing like publicly announcing that dangerous people will be arrested, while warning them ahead of time exactly where to run and hide to avoid arrest.”
DHS officials define the “out of bounds” areas where migrants and human smugglers can go to avoid arrest stating, “The guidelines for enforcement actions in or near protected areas remain in place, and ICE and CBP will not take enforcement action in or near a location that would restrain people’s access to essential services or engagement in essential activities to the fullest extent possible.”
Legal cross-border traffic using the Paso del Norte Bridge near downtown El Paso will be reduced as the operation takes place throughout the day according to DHS. The operation will not impact the nearly 2,000 migrants currently camped out on the streets of the city. The migrants camped near the Sacred Heart Catholic Church and a nearby charity shelter, as reported by Breitbart Texas, have been processed and released in the city by the Border Patrol to pursue their asylum claims within the United States.
Exacerbating the conditions in downtown El Paso is the fact that many of the migrants, mostly Venezuelan nationals, have no funds to make travel arrangements out of the border city. Many of the migrants who spoke to Breitbart Texas say they would like to leave as soon as possible, but without the ability to work and earn money, they are stranded in the city.