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More than 140 people are arrested for the charge of riot following border incident

EL PASO, Texas (KVIA) -- El Paso District Attorney Bill Hicks told ABC-7 that more than 140 people were arrested by the Department of Public Safety following an incident on April 12 where migrants tried to climb a chain link fence.

Hicks says those individuals arrested by DPS are subject to a riot charge.

"All of the individuals who were in that group are subject to a riot charge. I believe the Department of Public Safety has arrested and charged about 149 of those individuals. The law enforcement entity are the ones who actually make the decision on who they're going to arrest and who they're not going to arrest. And then they make the decision on what they're going to arrest. For once the charges make it to our office, then we make the decision on what we actually file charges for," said Hicks.

Hicks told ABC-7 those arrested have been housed in the county jail.

“The county jail is close to capacity, but of course, we're also working through the first set of cases and as those cases are worked through, I'm sure that some of those will plead out and be released from our county jail back to Border Patrol to be deported or whatever Border Patrol's going to do with them," said Hicks.

Kelli Childress, chief public defender for El Paso County, told ABC-7 that the migrants who were arrested have a claim for asylum and that she believes that obstacles like razor wire are cruel and unnecessary.

“If they climb a fence that's already on the U.S. side of the river, they are already in the U.S. when they claim a fence. So this idea that is somehow cutting or climbing a fence is their method of entry is incorrect," said Childress.

While those who were arrested have not been charged yet, Childress says she will seek justice for these individuals.

“Based on what I know of these arrests and the evidence, or should I say the lack of evidence, these will be aggressively defended. I have multiple motions that I will file. We will demand a speedy trial and we will swiftly try to find justice for these people," said Childress.

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Tony Gutierrez


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