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Large group of migrants force way across Texas border

A group of migrants try to cross a barbed wire fence to reach the US from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico on March 20, 2024
A group of migrants try to cross a barbed wire fence to reach the US from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico on March 20, 2024 - Copyright AFP Herika MARTINEZ
A group of migrants try to cross a barbed wire fence to reach the US from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico on March 20, 2024 - Copyright AFP Herika MARTINEZ

A “large group of migrants” crossing into the United States from Mexico broke through razor wire Thursday and rushed the border wall, the border patrol said, the latest episode in a simmering national immigration crisis.

Illegal immigration is a hugely contentious topic in the United States, and an issue already figuring prominently in the campaign for the November presidential election.

Republicans blame President Joe Biden for the recent record flow of migrants, while the White House accuses Republicans of deliberately sabotaging a bipartisan attempt to find a solution.

Greg Abbott, the Republican governor of Texas and an ally of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, wrote on X shortly after the episode that officers “quickly regained control & are redoubling the razor wire barriers.”

On Thursday morning, a crowd of dozens of migrants pushed aside part of a razor wire barricade the Texas National Guard had installed between the Rio Grande river — the natural boundary between Texas and Mexico — and the border wall in the west Texas city of El Paso.

Video published in the New York Post showed migrants pushing past the wire and overwhelming soldiers trying to contain them. 

After breaching the wire barricade, the migrants reached a tall section of border wall, which was impenetrable.

“At approximately 11 am local (1700 GMT) a large group of migrants breached Texas National Guard concertina wire barricades located between the Rio Grande (river) and the border wall in El Paso,” US Customs and Border Protection wrote in a statement.

Border patrol agents then “took custody of the migrants at the adjacent border wall and transported them to the central processing station to be processed,” it said.

The law allows migrants to stay in the country while their asylum request advances or their deportation is processed if they do not meet requirements.

The episode occurred as a Texas law winds its way through the courts that would allow state police to arrest and deport migrants who cross illegally into the United States from Mexico.

On Tuesday the law, known as Senate Bill 4, was placed on hold in the latest round of legal wrangling.

The thorny issue of immigration was meanwhile on full display last month when ex-president Trump successfully pressured Republicans to block a bill in Congress that included the toughest border security measures in decades, the type of measures usually championed by the right.

AFP
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With 2,400 staff representing 100 different nationalities, AFP covers the world as a leading global news agency. AFP provides fast, comprehensive and verified coverage of the issues affecting our daily lives.

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