Judge Releases Migrants Who Overwhelmed Texas National Guard in Border Stampede

A National Guard soldier in Eagle Pass, Texas (Getty Images)
April 1, 2024

An El Paso judge on Sunday ordered Texas authorities to release some of the illegal immigrants accused of rushing the southern border and overwhelming the state’s National Guard troops last month. 

"It is the ruling of the court that all the rioting participation cases will be released on their own recognizance," Magistrate Judge Humberto Acosta said at a virtual hearing on Sunday, according to the El Paso Times.

Border Patrol officials on March 21 arrested hundreds of migrants—mostly adult men from Venezuela—who rioted and rushed the border near the Rio Grande. Some were charged with assault and criminal mischief after allegedly ripping down razor wire and knocking over members of the Texas National Guard. 

Acosta justified his decision to release some of the rioting migrants by noting the El Paso district attorney’s office is not yet ready to proceed with a detention hearing for each arrestee. "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," the El Paso judge said. 

An additional hearing for more detainees is expected to be held on Monday, the El Paso Times reported.

Acosta’s decision came amid a dispute between Texas governor Greg Abbott (R.) and the Biden administration. Abbott has deployed National Guard troops at Texas's border with Mexico, defying the administration's warnings against the state shutting down sections of the border. While the Supreme Court on March 19 gave the green light to the Texas governor’s law allowing his officials to arrest and deport illegal immigrants, a federal appeals court put the law on hold just hours after the ruling.