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Illegal immigrants charged in violent stampede released by judge; DA wants ruling reversed

El Paso's district attorney said Thursday his office is appealing a judge's ruling to dismiss more than 200 riot cases against illegal immigrants who attempted to enter the U.S.

The El Paso district attorney on Thursday said his office will appeal a judge’s ruling that dismissed riot charges against hundreds of illegal immigrants who surged past troops in Texas and forced their way deeper into the U.S.

Authorities arrested more than 200 illegal immigrants on state rioting charges in the March 21 incident in which a group of predominantly adult male migrants pushed through concertina wire set up along the border with Mexico.

Footage of the incident went viral and fueled an ongoing dispute between Texas and the Biden administration about how to handle the ongoing crisis at the border. 


But a county court judge dismissed 211 cases at a hearing Wednesday, saying that proper procedures were not followed in regard to an order transferring jurisdiction to his court, the El Paso Times reported. The judge said his hands were tied on the matter.

"If I don't have jurisdiction," the judge said, "there's nothing I can do on these cases" except dismiss them, according to the Times.

In a press conference Thursday, District Attorney Bill Hicks said his office disagreed with the ruling and intended to appeal.


"We argued that it was appropriate and proper, and we feel that very strongly, and we feel that … it was done appropriately and that his order is an improper order," he said. "We have intentions of appealing his order to the Court of Appeals.

"It is not a good order. Because of that, and because we feel that the law is on our side, we have every intention of appealing his dismissal orders."

The Texas Department of Public Safety arrested the 214 migrants and issued warrants for two others. The group arrested was made up of men and women from Venezuela, Guatemala, Ecuador, Colombia, Cuba, Nicaragua, Honduras and El Salvador.

Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has previously said it is enforcing consequences for illegal entry as ICE prioritizes national security and public safety threats for deportation.

"There are consequences to crossing the border illegally, and CBP continues to enforce United States immigration laws," CBP said in a statement after the incident. "Individuals and families without a legal basis to remain in the U.S. are subject to removal and are subject to a minimum five-year bar on reapplying for admission and potential criminal prosecution if they subsequently re-enter without authorization. No one should believe the lies of smugglers; individuals and families without a legal basis to remain in the United States will be removed."

But Venezuela has stopped receiving direct deportation flights of its nationals. Venezuelans can still be sent to Mexico, but officials have told Fox that many of them then re-enter as "gotaways."

Hicks said some of the migrants have a criminal history, but many do not. He also said the migrants are being released if they have not been already. 

He said that when they are, they will be released to Border Patrol for processing.

"Some may qualify for asylum, some may not. Some may be deported, some may not," he said.

He said if the court of appeals reverses the judge’s order, new warrants for those migrants’ arrests will be issued.

Get the latest updates on the ongoing border crisis from the Fox News Digital immigration hub.

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