Hundreds of migrants try to make their way across the US border bridge

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A large group of migrants attempted to make their way across the US-Mexico border on Sunday.

Scenes of the mass crossing attempt circulated on social media, showing desperate migrants with children and minimal belongings as they attempted to cross the Paso del Norte Bridge, which spans the Rio Grande River between El Paso, Texas, and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico .

The chaos at the bridge began around 1:30 p.m. Sunday as migrants gathered on the Ciudad Juarez side and marched north, demanding entry.

US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents used barbed wire, wooden barricades and officers armed with shields to stop the crowd.

CIUDAD JUAREZ, MEXICO - MARCH 12: Hundreds of migrants stormed the Paso del Norte, Ciudad Juarez, Mexico with intentions to get to El Paso, United States on March 12, 2023. The people in mobility, accompanied by children, entered federal territory on the Mexican side and reached the hump of the bridge, where Customs and Protection Elements (CBP) prevented their passage with barricades of wires and tear gas. (Photo by Christian Torres/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Migrants rush past Mexican authorities stationed on the Paso del Norte bridge (Image: Christian Torres/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
The crowd tries to squeeze onto the American side of the Paso del Norte Bridge (Image: EPA)

Traffic on the bridge was completely halted around 5 p.m. It took authorities another two hours to reopen the bridge to vehicles.

At the same time, groups of migrants tried the same tactics at two other bridges, including the Bridge of the Americas and the Stanton Street Bridge. Traffic was halted at each bridge for about 45 minutes.

It is unclear whether any of the migrants were injured in the attempted crossing. A CBP public affairs official told that no federal agents were injured and the agency was coordinating with Mexican authorities during the surge.

Mexican National Guard soldiers block the path of migrants (Image: REUTERS)
CBP agents use barbed wire and barriers to block the path of oncoming migrants (Image: Christian Torres/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

“CBP works to maintain the legal and orderly flow of entry into the United States while protecting the security of legitimate trade and travel,” the agency said.

The agency said it could not speculate on what caused the surges

Reuters reported that most of the migrants involved in the incident were asylum seekers from Venezuela.

The Paso del Norte International Bridge is blocked by Mexican and U.S. authorities after migrants gathered and forced their way onto the bridge in downtown Ciudad Juarez, Mexico March 12, 2023. REUTERS/Paul Ratje

Mexican National Guard soldiers stand guard after order was restored at the Paso del Norte bridge (Image: REUTERS)

One migrant said he was fed up with the agency’s app, called CBP One, which the Biden administration launched to streamline the asylum application process.

“We want answers, please,” said 18-year-old Venezuelan Camila Paz. “The application did absolutely nothing for us.”

In California, meanwhile, eight people were killed on two smuggling boats capsized off the coast of San Diego.

The Coast Guard and the San Diego Fire-Rescue searched all day for any survivors of the crash. A survivor estimated there were about 15 people, mostly migrants, on board the small vessels.

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Justin Scacco

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