Border Patrol arrests migrants near church in effort to clear up El Paso

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Border Patrol arrests migrants near church in effort to clear up El Paso

US Border Patrol rounded up illegal migrants camped out on streets near a Catholic church in El Paso, Texas on Tuesday, the agency confirmed to The Post.

Federal agents continued checking migrants on the streets of the border town throughout Wednesday and took any who were not authorized asylum seekers into custody.

An eyewitness said: “They were asking people across from the church where many of them are staying for documents. If they produced them, they let them go. If not, they took them in.”

Sources said dozens were arrested by border agents and most likely expelled to Mexico.

As The Post has documented, around 60 migrants slipped over the border in the early hours of Tuesday morning, and others freely admitted to The Post they snuck into the country and had been sleeping on the streets near Sacred Heart Church for days.

brightly colored clothes, sleeping bags and  childrens toys on the street next to wire fences
Discarded belongings following US Border Patrol’s raid on migrants sleeping on the streets of El Paso.
James Keivom for NY Post
sheets are hung from the wire fence to offer shelter for a family, a mother is showing a child a book, while another rides a bike in the background. The father talks to a man in a dark hoodie on the sidewalk
A migrant family’s makeshift home of sheets and blankets, with all their possessions piled up next to it
James Keivom for NY Post

As Border Patrol continued taking migrants into custody Wednesday, church volunteers hurriedly ushered people onto its property and out of the reach from agents, as houses of worship are considered off limits. 

“I need you to take your child, and come with me,” said a volunteer to a group of migrants, adding, “There are more vans coming to take you away.”

A pregnant migrant woman sobbed as she rushed to squeeze into a long, narrow gated area with others who are in the US illegally.

Migrants, some legal and other not, line the sidewalk outside Sacred Heart church in El Paso, Texas.
Migrants line the sidewalk outside Sacred Heart church in El Paso, Texas.
James Keivom for NY Post

“There’s no space left inside the church — it’s filled with women and children, so we’re just standing out here and could be deported at anytime. All we can do is run if they try to get us,” a Venezuelan migrant, who only wanted to be identified as Johnny because he is in the US illegally, told The Post.

El Paso has seen an increase in migrant crossings since the last week of December when Title 42 was extended, allowing the US to keep asylum-seekers from certain countries out of the US.

The Post witnessed a number of migrants missing from spots where they had been sleeping near the house of worship Wednesday morning. A Honduran couple with several young children were gone, their few belongings discarded on the sidewalk.

Sacred Heart Catholic Church opened its doors to migrants, but there were so many, that the overflow sleep outside on the street every night.
Sacred Heart Catholic Church opened its doors to migrants at the end of December.
James Keivom for NY Post
a man is wrapped in a sleeping bag outside a tent, in the background are other tents and a man in a long coat with his hands in his pockets, shivering
Migrant tents in the El Paso streets, with their inhabitants wrapped up against the cold
James Keivom for NY Post

Other migrants told The Post “immigration officials” plucked people off the streets at night as they were sleeping Tuesday night.

A statement from Border Patrol said patrolling the neighborhood is part of its regular enforcement strategy.

“In response to migrants evading apprehension, the United States Border Patrol has increased the number of agents patrolling the area,” the agency told The Post.

various tents in the alleyway
An alley between the church and its gym has become a place where many have camped out
James Keivom for NY Post

Border Patrol checkpoints have become another focal point, as illegal immigrants are increasingly trying to leave West Texas by riding further into the country aboard commercial buses.

At least 16 commercial buses with 178 immigrants were stopped this weekend alone. Hundreds more have been apprehended at checkpoints in recent days.

The sixth largest city in Texas declared a state of emergency in December after being overwhelmed with migrants, both illegal and legal, who are escaping failing states south of Mexico since August.

Those with nowhere to go hunkered down for another long night on the streets Wednesday, with many unsure if they would still be in the US by morning.

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