US Customs and Border Protection officers busted a group of illegal immigrants shortly after they had sneaked over the US-Mexico border into El Paso around 11 p.m. on New Year’s Day.

An eyewitness told The Post: “The migrants climb over the border wall, go under the highway and disappear into the neighboorhoods.

“The border agents left all their cars a few streets away and hid behind a dumpster. When they came out from behind it to pounce on the illegals, they all tried to scatter.

“They apprehended eight people total, four on the street and four who tried to hide in a darkened corner at the top of the interior of the overpass ramp.”

Photos taken during the arrests show several migrants lying on their stomachs as they are searched and then taken in by US Customs and Border Protection officers. They were assisted by officers from the Texas Department of Public Safety, who have been drafted alongside the Texas National Guard to help in the beleaguered city since it declared the migrant crisis an emergency in mid-December.

Officers arrested the group of migrants Sunday under an overpass at the Cesar Chavez Border Highway.
James Keivom
A cop presses a migrant against his vehicle as he handcuffs him
An illegal migrant is taken into custody in El Paso, Texas, after sneaking over the border.
James Keivom

Photos also show some migrants — many of whom are from Central and South America, where they are fleeing failing governments and economic freefall — sitting against fences near the border as officers stand over them holding flashlights. Some of the migrants had small bags or backpacks with them following their journey across the border.

Residents of the nearby El Paso neighborhood have also taken to patrolling the area, looking for migrants attempting to cross the border. One resident on Sunday even armed themselves with a bean bag gun while watching for illegals scaling the fence to cross the Cesar E. Chavez Border Highway.

A resident looks for migrants who crossed the border into his neighborhood in El Paso, Texas.
James Keivom
A resident armed with bean bag gun patrols a neighborhood near the U.S.-Mexico Border Wall patrol a chain link fence migrants scale when they cross the Cesar E. Chavez Border
Some residents in the area patrol the neighborhood to see if migrants cross the border.
James Keivom

The eyewitness said despite an increased presence and patrols at the border, the migrants sneaking in seem to know what times to cross and waited until the early hours of Monday, when there were fewer resources dedicated to catching them.

“The presence was scaled down after midnight and Texas DPS did not have any visible patrols along the highway around 2 a.m. After that people were just running across. They came in small groups to begin with, and then there were bigger groups, who all disappeared in the neighborhood.

“I must have seen 60 people crossing. It’s a futile situation. Once the guards disappear, they run through,” said the source.

migrants hiding
Migrants attempting to evade US officers were captured Sunday hiding under a highway overpass.
James Keivom

The Post tracked the progress of three Venezuelan migrants last week from Juarez, Mexico, into El Paso. They crossed illegally and joined a camp made up of both legal and illegal asylum seekers and were trying to raise money for a bus out of town to Denver, where they said they had jobs waiting for them.

“We came illegally through a gate in the border wall. We know the risks … pros and cons, but we have to make the sacrifice,” one of the migrants said.

Two migrants are apprehended after they crossed the US-Mexico border wall on Sunday.
James Keivom
migrants under overpass
Migrants were huddled under the busy overpass Sunday before they were arrested.
James Keivom

Meanwhile, earlier Sunday, 10 guards and four inmates were killed when gunmen in armored vehicles attacked a Mexican state prison in Ciudad Juarez — just across the border from El Paso.

Gunmen in bulletproof vehicles attacked Cereso No. 3 state prison, leaving 13 people wounded and 14 dead, according to the Chihuahua state prosecutor’s office.

Later in the day, Mexican soldiers and state police regained control of the prison, but only after at least 24 inmates escaped. The state prosecutor’s office said its officials were investigating the deadly incident.

In August, a riot broke out in the same prison, and spread to the streets, killing 11 people.


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