Cartels likely caused wild US-Mexico bridge chaos

Cartels likely caused wild US-Mexico bridge chaos

Mexico’s drug cartels likely posted lies on social media to trigger the massive rush of desperate migrants at a US border bridge over the weekend — and distract authorities from their crimes, experts say.

Wild video captured the pandemonium that erupted as hundreds of migrants, including the elderly and young children, stormed the international bridge from Juarez, Mexico, to El Paso, Texas, on Sunday — apparently driven by fake online claims that the US was giving asylum-seekers a break that day.

US Customs and Border Protection agents ended up blocking the frenzied asylum seekers from entering the country with concrete barriers, barbed wire and an elite Mobile Field Force team clad in riot gear.

A social-media blurb reviewed by The Post and previously spread around through migrant group chats claimed that CBP — which mans the international ports of entry and handles asylum claims — would be allowing migrants with extreme circumstances or with children to come through.

“If you’re at the border, go this morning,” reads a screenshot of the posting provided to The Post by Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center in El Paso.

“Don’t miss this opportunity,” the posting urges.

Former Border Patrol Chief Thaddeus Cleveland, who retired from his longtime post a few months ago, told The Post on Monday that the cartels — which have the most to gain by turmoil at the border — were likely behind the bogus posts.

“Heck, it wouldn’t take much, as we saw yesterday, to get [migrants] spooled up and thinking that they are going to have the possibility to enter [the US],” Cleveland said.

He said creating such diversions ties up federal resources that might otherwise be used against the drug thugs.

“You can stir up something over here at [the El Paso bridge] and then allow something bigger to go through somewhere else,” Cleveland said.

“With something that large, it’s going to take all hands on deck. ‘Cause a little confusion over here and get some stuff through over there.’ ”

Sunday’s bedlam was particularly cruel because it victimized some migrants who have already sold many of their possessions to bring their families to the border in hopes of getting across, aid workers said.

“A lot of the folks that are waiting in Juarez are very desperate, and they’ll believe anything,” Crystal Sandoval of Las Americas center told The Post.

“They have nothing to lose; they’ve left anything behind.”

“No doubt the cartels are involved,’’ she added.

“But everyone is taking advantage of the most vulnerable,” Sandoval said, claiming the Biden administration is also to blame for not creating a clearer and safer pathway for asylum-seekers to seek refuge in the US.

“There’s a lot of people interested in what happens on the border, but not a lot of solutions,’’ she said.

Sunday’s hordes of migrants, mostly Venezuelans who are waiting on the Mexican side to legally claim asylum, had begged US immigration officials to let them, shouting, “We want entry! We want entry!”

Mothers with babes in their arms also pleaded for officials to let them through to escape the squalor they have been living in for sometimes months.

“Help us! We have kids who are hungry! It’s not fair,” shouted a woman with a small child on her shoulders, according to an Instagram video.

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