The El Paso, Texas, bridge where federal agents were struggling with large groups of migrants trying to breach the border was safe and was flowing freely Sunday night, officials said.
Large groups of angry migrants trying to cross into the US on the Paso del Norte bridge were met with traffic barriers, concertina wire and agents in riot gear, video of the confrontation was shown.
The afternoon skirmishes prompted authorities to close the northbound lanes of the bridge, US Customs and Border Protection spokesman Roger Maier said in a statement.
He said “port hardening measures” on the bridge began around 1:30 p.m.
“A large mass of individuals formed on the Mexican side of the border and approached the international border, posing a potential threat of mass admixture,” Maier said.
CBP said similar attempts to breach the border also occurred at two other land ports in the area, America’s Bridge and Stanton Crossing, prompting officials to place temporary barriers at those locations.
Videos captured moments when angry migrants shouted and lashed out at CBP officers wearing riot gear, the barbed wire separating the two sides.
President Joe Biden is expected to travel to the country’s largest city along the US-Mexico border, San Diego, to meet with the prime ministers of the UK and Australia on Monday. There was no trip scheduled for the barrier.
Two sources familiar with the Biden administration border plan said last week that a controversial policy from the Trump administration was under consideration to help keep migrants from overwhelming ports and enforcement efforts.
The Trump administration’s “family detention” policy on migrants and their children being held at the border was rejected by the Biden administration shortly after Biden took office.
Amid Republicans hammering border security and the conclusion in May of a pandemic-era loophole that allows authorities to turn away asylum seekers, Biden is seeking new ways to control migration northward .
El Paso officials have said the majority of migrants at regional crossings are from Venezuela, declaring that their city is facing a migrant crisis that began in April.
Experts have said that Venezuelans are fleeing due to the high cost of living, high unemployment and political turmoil.
Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, the ranking member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security, criticized migrants for Sunday’s unruly demonstrations.
“I know they’re tired of waiting,” he told El Paso’s NBC affiliate KTSM, “but things like that don’t help their case.”
Juliet Arcodia Contribution,