A rumor on a Facebook page led to throngs of migrants attempting to cross the U.S.-Mexico border at El Paso’s Paso Del Norte International Bridge on Sunday, forcing the shutdown of three border bridges.
NEW: Migrants involved in the attempted mass rushing of the Paso Del Norte bridge in El Paso yesterday tell us catalysts were frustrations with the CBPOne app, and this false rumor on Facebook telling migrants they would be allowed into the US at the bridge on Sunday. The post… https://t.co/l39KWSZfJj pic.twitter.com/XlaGhzB5eG
— Bill Melugin (@BillFOXLA) March 13, 2023
First reported by Fox News, images and video footage showed hundreds, possibly even over a thousand, of mostly Venezuelan migrants rushing to cross the border.
One video showed hundreds of migrants on a bridge, cheering and “jumping for joy” as they crossed underneath a sign reading “Feliz Viaje,” or “Happy Travels.”
Around 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, the rush began and a riot control team was deployed from the border protection agency to help contain the migrants. CBP agents were forced to implement “port hardening measures” because of the “potential threat to make a mass entry.”
Initially, CBP shut down just the Paso Del Norte bridge, but as conditions worsened, they shut down two additional bridges in El Paso.
Razor wire and concrete barricades were used on the U.S. side to halt crossings; some migrants attempted to move the barrier or force their way across, while others prayed and begged to be let through.
Some migrants claimed that a CBP agent sprayed them with pepper spray in order to prevent them from crossing.
During the rush, the Mexican military attempted to help contain the migrants on the Mexico side of the border.
According to CBP, most of the crowd returned to Mexico by 5:30 p.m. on Sunday, nearly four hours after the initial rush. The Paso Del Norte bridge was reopened for traffic nearly an hour later.
Since Abbott has continued to ignore the demands, a resolution urging Abbott to declare an invasion at the border has been filed in the Texas Senate.