Thousands of migrants have once again flooded over the border from Mexico at El Paso, Texas — many of whom had reportedly been kidnapped by cartels, rescued by the Mexican army, then brought to the border by the country’s police and told to turn themselves in to US authorities.
More than 1,500 people were seen wading across the Rio Grande from Juarez on Sunday night, according to El Paso Matters, which published footage of the river crossing.
On Sunday alone, 2,400 people had attempted to cross into the US at El Paso, according to statistics released by the border city — which is already over capacity and bracing for a renewed onslaught of migrants with the looming end of Title 42 on December 21.
The city also recorded 5,105 migrants in temporary custody Sunday at US Customs and Border Protection’s Central Processing Center El Paso, as their claims were evaluated. The center is designed to hold only 3,500 people.
The asylum seekers had come from Nicaragua, Peru and Ecuador, where they have been fleeing failed governments, and many had been a part of a group who had been kidnapped en masse on Dec. 3, according to the outlet.
Passengers had been aboard a Futura bus heading for the border when they were stopped by men in police uniforms, then redirected to a house where they were held hostage.
“We were 1,500 people sleeping in a house,” a 29-year-old Peruvian woman named Carmen told the outlet.
“They took everything, my passport, my phone. My legs are covered with bruises from other people kicking while we slept.”
The migrants were rescued by the Mexican military after six days, according to El Paso Matters, but in the ensuing chaos, many lost their passports and travel documents.
They were then taken to the border in Juarez on the Mexican side in 20 buses via police escort. They were escorted by officials for their own protection after the kidnapping, according to the El Paso Times. It is unclear what the reason for originally kidnapping the migrants was.
Many were then walked to the river by Mexican state police, who instructed the migrants to cross into the US and turn themselves in to authorities.
Carmen reportedly said she feared being imprisoned in the non-governmental organization shelter where she had been initially dropped so soon after being kidnapped by men impersonating police.
“I feel like I am being treated like a criminal when I am a victim. I don’t trust anyone,” she reportedly said.
“I am traumatized from threats in my country and I am traumatized from the kidnapping here. All I want is to arrive at a place that is safe. That is all we’re asking for.”
El Paso’s official statistics showed nearly 900 asylum seekers were moved into temporary shelters on Sunday, bringing the sites over capacity and leaving them with no choice other than to release a further 286 people onto the streets to fend for themselves while their claims were processed.
The influx came 10 days before the court-ordered expiration of Title 42, which was invoked in March 2020 to expedite the expulsion of 2.4 million asylum seekers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The average of daily encounters with migrants at the border in El Paso has steadily risen over the past month from about 1,700 to 2,100, according to statistics from the city.
The influx of bottlenecked migrants is expected to rise by 40% in the coming weeks, and is predicted to be felt strongly at the El Paso crossing, which was the second-busiest crossing in the US during 2022, according to government statistics.
The Biden administration is said to be unprepared for the surge as it had appealed to halt the federal judge’s order ending Title 42.
US Customs and Border Protection did not immediately return a request for comment from The Post.