Border Patrol agent illegally turns away asylum-seeking migrants who had already made it into Texas

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Written By Maya Cantina
  • US law and Border Patrol rules require Border Patrol agents to arrest anyone who crosses onto US soil illegally, not return them to Mexico
  • Texas National Guard members also sent migrants back to Mexico, even though they are not authorized to enforce immigration law 
  • Migrants stuck in razor wire meant intended to ask for asylum, a right guaranteed under US and international law 

A US Border Patrol agent illegally turned away a family of asylum seekers who had already made it into Texas, DailyMail.com can exclusively reveal.

A family of six from Venezuela, including girls aged one and four, illegally crossed from Mexico into El Paso Sunday morning. 

Once on US soil, the family made their way through the razor wire, albeit with the baby crying as barbed wire meant to block migrants from entering the country tore at their clothes and flesh.

The mother was already standing on the northern side of the barbed wire and the rest of the family was crawling inside the loops of concertina wire when the Border Patrol agent approached them.

The federal agent drove up to the family and ordered them back to Mexico, as witnessed firsthand by DailyMail.com. The move is a violation of US law and of the agent’s mandate with the Border Patrol. 

A US Border Patrol agent in El Paso, Texas ordered a Venezuelan family of asylum-seekers back to Mexico Sunday, as witnessed by the DailyMail.com. The move is violation of US law and of Border Patrol policy. The family can be seen above standing in the razor wire. They were all on US soil when the agent told them to go back to Mexico

The Venezuelan family of sixa above illegally crossed from Mexico into El Paso, Texas Sunday morning by crossing the Rio Grande. The river is the international boundary between the US and Mexico in Texas

The Venezuelan family of sixa above illegally crossed from Mexico into El Paso, Texas Sunday morning by crossing the Rio Grande. The river is the international boundary between the US and Mexico in Texas

The Venezuelans pictured sitting on the banks of the Rio Grande were already on US soil when they were ordered back to Mexico by a US Border Patrol agent

The Venezuelans pictured sitting on the banks of the Rio Grande were already on US soil when they were ordered back to Mexico by a US Border Patrol agent

The federal agency requires agents to arrest any migrant who crossed into the country illegally. 

‘They’re not supposed to be turning people away, especially if they are already in US territory,’ Crystal Sandoval, with Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Group, told DailyMail.com.

‘It’s not supposed to be happening.’ 

The rejected family was just yards away from an opening in the border wall where hundreds of other migrants who entered the US illegally were being taken into custody by Border Patrol agents. 

El Paso has seen a recent surge in migrants crossings the border, with as many as 1,600 people crossing into West Texas in a single day. 

US Customs and Border Protection, the parent agency of the US Border, asked DailyMail.com for more time to comment on this story after we reached out to them Sunday. 

Ultimately, the agency did not comment.

Before the South Americans crossed over to the US, the father told the DailyMail.com that he and his family planned to ask for asylum in the US, as he scouted the river for a place with low water so that he and his kids could wade over. 

A Venezuelan father with two young kids, ages 1 and 4, walks down the banks of the Rio Grande in Mexico to wade across the international boundary and into the US Sunday morning near El Paso. The man told the DailyMail.com he and his relatives were seeking asylum

A Venezuelan father with two young kids, ages 1 and 4, walks down the banks of the Rio Grande in Mexico to wade across the international boundary and into the US Sunday morning near El Paso. The man told the DailyMail.com he and his relatives were seeking asylum 

The man's wife and one-year-old daughter slipped as they entered the river. The mother was able to regain her footing and make it across to the US

The man’s wife and one-year-old daughter slipped as they entered the river. The mother was able to regain her footing and make it across to the US

Figures from US Customs and Border Protection, the parent agency of the US Border Patrol, shows at least 7.8 migrants illegally crossed into the US from 2021 to 2024 fiscal years

Figures from US Customs and Border Protection, the parent agency of the US Border Patrol, shows at least 7.8 migrants illegally crossed into the US from 2021 to 2024 fiscal years

If migrants who are in Border Patrol custody make it known to agents that they want to make an asylum claim, US and international law says the migrant must be given the opportunity to do so. 

‘If they’re asylum seekers, we are supposed to at least process them in a humane way and provide them with a credible fear interview,’ Sandoval added.

The legal requirements to arrest illegal border crossers and allow asylum-seekers to make refugee claims is part of the reason the US has seen historic numbers at the border since 2021 resulting in a border crisis.

At least 7.8 million migrants have illegally crossed into the US since 2021, according to figures from US Customs and Border Protection.

That doesn’t include an additional 1 million migrants estimated to have entered the US illegally in the last three months of 2023.

In recent years, 7.7 million Venezuelans have left their homeland, run by a dictator, seeking refuge in other South American countries and in the US, according to the United Nations.

Members of the Texas National Guard drew their weapons as migrants who were already in the US tried to cross barbed wire near El Paso, Texas

Members of the Texas National Guard drew their weapons as migrants who were already in the US tried to cross barbed wire near El Paso, Texas

Multiple migrants were told to go back to Mexico by members of the Texas National Guard as witnessed by the Daily Mail near El Paso, Texas Sunday

Multiple migrants were told to go back to Mexico by members of the Texas National Guard as witnessed by the Daily Mail near El Paso, Texas Sunday

Texas National Guard members reacted to a migrant sneaking over the razor wire by adding additional layers of fencing

Texas National Guard members reacted to a migrant sneaking over the razor wire by adding additional layers of fencing

After being rejected by Border Patrol, the Venezuelan father told the DailyMail.com that they had been ordered to return to Mexico. 

‘He told us to go back, that we can’t enter here,’ the migrant shouted to the DailyMail.com from across the river. 

The dad desperately walked up on and down the US river bank looking for another location to get through the make-shift barrier while his children sat in the barbed wire on the river bank.

It’s unknown if they ultimately made it past the barbed wire. 

The migrant rejection by the Border Patrol wasn’t the only one Sunday morning. 

Earlier in the day, members of the Texas National Guard also ordered different  migrants back to Mexico. 

A pregnant migrant who crossed the US into El Paso, Texas said members of the Texas National Guard had told her and her other to go back to Mexico even though they were already in the US

A pregnant migrant who crossed the US into El Paso, Texas said members of the Texas National Guard had told her and her other to go back to Mexico even though they were already in the US

Despite being turned away once Sunday, they crossed the river into the US a second time the same day

Despite being turned away once Sunday, they crossed the river into the US a second time the same day

Several other migrants who made it to the US all gathered on the banks of the river that separates the US from Mexico after a Border Patrol agent and Texas National Guard troops told them to go back to Mexico

Several other migrants who made it to the US all gathered on the banks of the river that separates the US from Mexico after a Border Patrol agent and Texas National Guard troops told them to go back to Mexico

A Venezuelan man, who also had the intention of making an asylum claim, tried crawling through the wire, only to be confronted by a solider – who exited his truck and pulled out a rifle. 

When questioned about his actions by the DailyMail.com, the guardsmen said: ‘I’m just doing my job. I’m here with the governor.’

The Texas Military Department did not respond to our request for comment.

The migrant did make it over the barbed wire fencing by placing discard clothes on top and scaling it while guardsmen were distracted with a different group of migrants. 

Another set of migrants told us they crossed into the US but were told to go back to Mexico by a Texas guardsmen.

‘We crossed the river and got the wires and then the solider told us to go back,’ a 19-year-old pregnant migrant who did not want to give her name told DailyMail.com.

A Venezuelan man who was turned away by Texas National guard members and sent back to Mexico ignored them and scaled the razor fencing put in place by Texas authorities

A Venezuelan man who was turned away by Texas National guard members and sent back to Mexico ignored them and scaled the razor fencing put in place by Texas authorities

Texas National Guard members removed clothing used by migrants to easily scale the razor wire put in place by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott

Texas National Guard members removed clothing used by migrants to easily scale the razor wire put in place by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott

Members of the Texas National Guard, who are not trained in immigration law and are not legally authorized to enforce federal immigration laws, have previously been documented turning migrants away.

Those actions have are under investigation by the US Department of Justice, although the state has denied guard members have broken any laws.

The DOJ has also threatened to sue the Lone Star State if it enforces a recently passed law, SB4.

The measure gives state officials in the state the ability to arrest illegal immigrants and send them back to Mexico. 

The Texas National Guard, by order of Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, is also responsible for the razor wire construction at the border. 

The barrier has been the subject of controversy and is currently at the center of a legal battle. 

Border Patrol agents have routinely cut through the wire to allow migrants the chance to surrender, especially if the migrant’s life or safety is at stake. 

Gov. Abbott has demanded that federal agents stop cutting the wire, and sued the federal government over it.

While a court initially ruled the wire fencing had to be removed, a federal appeals court ruled two weeks ago that Border Patrol agents can’t destroy the razor wire pending the outcome of the litigation that is likely to end up being decided by the US Supreme Court. 

It’s debatable how effective the barrier has been at stopping migrants, since they typically use cardboard, clothing or blankets to climb over the fencing or crawl through it. 

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