A week before President Joe Biden’s visit to El Paso, Texas, Customs and Border Protection agents and the El Paso City Police Department began arresting immigrants sleeping in the street outside a Catholic church shelter and bus stop. was available in the new video. NBC News.
In the video, border guards can be seen patrolling the streets on Tuesday night, riding in vans with flashing lights and rustling noises in tents where families are sleeping. Immigration advocates say the arrestee’s proximity to a church shelter may violate Department of Homeland Security policy.
The person who filmed the video, a volunteer at the shelter, told NBC News that around 100 to 150 migrants had been arrested, with more migrants sleeping at bus stations detained later in the week.
In one video, migrants gather around a man praying out loud. in the name of Jesus. They are the people looking for your salvation, sir. They come in search of a better future. We respect the law, sir… Father, you have the power to protect us. ”
In a statement, El Paso Customs and Border Protection said the arrest was in response to immigrants evading arrest in the El Paso area.
“CBP, which is responsible for securing the U.S. border between ports of entry, uses a multi-layered approach that includes the border itself, patrolling neighborhoods and neighborhoods, and enforcing checkpoints,” said the El Paso agent. spokesperson said. “In response to immigrants’ avoidance of unrest in the El Paso area, U.S. Border Patrol increased the number of agents patrolling the area.”
Border Patrol officials said the number of migrants entering El Paso hit a record high of 2,500 per day in mid-December, but has slowed since.
During the surge, migrants began arriving at shelters run by the Church of the Sacred Heart, but as temperatures dipped below freezing in the week before Christmas, the shelters filled up and children were left sleeping on the streets, causing some Since then, the city has built more facilities to accommodate immigrants, but many still sleep outside churches or near bus stops.
A Border Patrol official told NBC News that those arrested had not been previously arrested by Border Patrol when they crossed the border from Juarez, Mexico. They were taken to an immigration processing center in El Paso, where they spent the night.From there they were either sent back to Mexico under Title 42, the Covid-19 border restrictions temporarily implemented by the Supreme Court, or given a date to appear in a U.S. court.
The Biden administration on Thursday unveiled a new plan to increase the number of immigrants who can return to Mexico under Title 42.
Biden is expected to visit El Paso on Sunday to promote plans to pave the way for legal immigration.
According to Lisa Grayville, vice president of law and policy at the National Center for Immigration Law, the location of the arrest outside of the Church of the Sacred Heart may be in violation of Homeland Security guidance.
“The cynic in me ponders the possibility that this is a cleanup action intended to showcase El Paso in certain respects, and an executive action of the president in certain respects.” To, what you see in this video, and what you’re told by your partners in the field, is the exact opposite of his initial rational, sensitive, and law-abiding proposals for churches and organizations that provide social services. of his administration about respecting areas such as.So it’s a really painful contradiction.”
In October 2021, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mallorcas sent a memo to the heads of all DHS agencies, some telling them that places such as places of worship and courts should not be used to arrest illegal immigrants. reminded me.
He pointed out that areas close to these safe places could also be considered protected.
“Consideration must be given to the fact that enforcement actions carried out in the vicinity of protected areas may have similar effects on individual access to the protected areas themselves,” Mayorcas said in the memo. “If so, enforcement measures should not be taken near protected areas wherever possible.”
Didi Martinez contributed.