Editor’s note: This story has been updated to include additional information about the escape.
A group of illegal migrants from Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua broke out of a Border Patrol bus Wednesday and are currently unaccounted for in the city of El Paso, Texas, President for the National Border Patrol Council for the El Paso sector Durango Ayala and a spokesperson for Border Patrol told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
One Border Patrol agent, the driver, accompanied the group of 18 illegal migrants bound for expulsion under Title 42, a Trump-era order applied to certain nationalities in an effort to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, at the Stanton bridge commuter crossing, Ayala told the DCNF. As of late Wednesday, Ayala said the group escaped by kicking open a hatch in the bus, and was currently unaccounted for. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: Biden Admin Flew Migrants Caught Illegally Crossing Over From Canada To The Southern Border, Memo Reveals)
Two Border Patrol agents, who requested anonymity to speak publicly on the matter, confirmed the illegal migrants’ escape.
“As the bus was moving, the migrants opened the top emergency exit hatch and jumped out onto nearby public streets in downtown El Paso, TX. Immediately thereafter, the Border Patrol Agent driving the bus, pulled over on a nearby street to prevent more migrants from jumping out,” a Border Patrol spokesperson for the sector told the DCNF.
“This group of migrants were not seeking asylum and were previously encountered in Santa Teresa, NM and El Paso, as they attempted to evaded arrest,” the spokesperson said. “U.S. Border Patrol in the El Paso Sector entered an alert for their arrest after escaping from federal custody.”
Having only one agent accompany the group was a violation of policy, Ayala said.
“The never-ending disregard to enforce immigration law by the current administration is causing frustration throughout CBP [Customs and Border Protection]. Overcrowded detention facilities and limited transportation is a daily occurrence,” a Border Patrol agent working in the El Paso sector, who requested anonymity because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly, told the DCNF. “Migrants that are still arriving at the southern border from the original surge invitation by the president are becoming impatient with extended processing times and turning frustrations against CBP personnel.”
“Damaging facilities, creating unrest and escaping while in custody are just a glimpse of what this president has allowed into our communities,” the agent added.
Venezuelans, Cubans and Nicaraguans are currently expelled under Title 42 and face an entry ban of up to five years, according to CBP. The Biden administration plans to end Title 42 on May 11.
Migrants amenable to Title 42 have the option to apply for an exemption before entering the U.S. through the CBP One phone app. However, many have had issues with getting prompt appointments and avoiding glitches with the process.
The migrants’ frustrations with the process contributed to an incident in which hundreds of them stormed the Paso del Norte bridge in El Paso on March 12.
CBP recorded more than 2.3 million migrant encounters in fiscal year 2022 and another roughly 1 million between October 2022 and February 2023.
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