Grand Jury Elects To Indict Over 100 Migrants For Rioting At Border After Judge Dismissed Charges

(Jennie Taer, Twitter screenshot)

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Jason Hopkins Contributor
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A Texas grand jury elected to indict a mass group of migrants on misdemeanor rioting charges on Tuesday, just one day after a county judge threw out their cases.

El Paso District Attorney Bill Hicks presented the allegations against the group of 140 migrants to an El Paso grand jury, according to the El Paso Times. The grand jury, made up of 12 local community members, chose to indict the migrants on the riot participation charges.

The charges stem from an incident on April 12, when a group of around 300 migrants in El Paso’s Lower Valley tore through concertina wire at the border and rushed into United States territory, prompting a mass arrest by Operation Lone Star forces. A state prosecutor argued that the push forward by roughly 140 of them caused the Texas National Guard to fall back, constituting a riot.

A county judge subsequently found no probable cause for their arrests, dismissing their cases. The dismissal, however, did not bar the El Paso District Attorney’s Office from lodging rioting charges — which is exactly what their office did on Tuesday.

TOPSHOT – A metal fence marked with the US Border Patrol sign prevents people to get close to the barbed/concertina wire covering the US/Mexico border fence, in Nogales, Arizona, on February 9, 2019. (Photo by Ariana Drehsler / AFP) (Photo credit should read ARIANA DREHSLER/AFP via Getty Images)

“We presented the case as a whole. We presented videotape evidence of what happened. The grand jurors believed there was, in fact, probable cause,” Hicks said on Tuesday, according to the El Paso Times. “The citizens of El Paso, through the grand jury, essentially overruled the judge’s ruling and found probable cause to believe that the riots did occur.”

If convicted on the charges, the migrants could be fined up to $2,000 and serve up to 180 days in jail. Additionally, federal immigration authorities placed detainer requests on the migrants for illegal entry into the U.S., meaning they could be immediately transferred to federal custody should they be released from state detention. (RELATED: Biden DHS Asking Border Patrol To Record ‘Altercations’ With Texas Law Enforcement, DCNF Reporter Reveals)

The indictments come as Texas state officials ramp up border enforcement amid an ongoing illegal immigration crisis. Hicks, appointed to his position by GOP Texas Gov. Greg Abbott in 2022, estimated that his office has arrested more than 350 people on rioting charges since March, according to the Associated Press.

The incident was the second time in less than a month that Texas National Guard troops stationed near El Paso were overwhelmed by a mass group of migrants who rushed the border.

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