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City: Reports of organized gangs operating near migrants

EL PASO, Texas -- Deputy City Manager Mario D'Agostino confirmed Thursday that the City is getting reports of organized gangs in areas where migrants have been congregating.

"The gang unit's been out there as well," said D'Agostino, "It's been all units of the police department. And we're making sure we're utilizing our resources well. So it's been members from all divisions of the police department have been assisting in this effort."

D'Agostino said that police presence in the area has been heightened in order to protect both the migrants and the local community. This comes following a series of arrests in the area of both migrants and locals.

"Any of the arrests we've seen by local law enforcement has been to somebody violating the law. And so they're not checking immigration status, local law enforcement does not enforce that, we do not ask that. It's people who are disobeying the laws."

Migrants living on the streets of Segundo Barrio have complained of mistreatment by Customs and Border Protection.

"I found out that agents do beat up people. One kid even threw himself to the ground, and they still beat him," said John Gonzalez, a Venezuelan migrant sleeping on the streets of Segundo Barrio.

ABC-7 reached out to CBP officials for clarification on what led up to similar events migrants described to our team. Officials said they were out of the office by the time they were contacted, but will respond to our inquiries Friday morning.

However, CBP did provide a statement to ABC-7 earlier Thursday, which read "CBP, which is responsible for securing the U.S. border between ports of entry, uses a layered approach that includes patrolling the border itself, nearby areas, and neighborhoods, and conducting checkpoints - both stationary and temporary. In response to migrants evading apprehension in the El Paso area, the United States Border Patrol has increased the number of agents patrolling the area. Border Patrol Agents conduct enforcement actions in accordance with DHS policy without denying access to needed medical care, access to schools by children, access to places of worship, access to disaster or emergency relief sites and other protected areas."

CBP officials also said their agents only take undocumented migrants into custody.

Article Topic Follows: El Paso

Kerry Mannix


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