ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — U.S. Border Patrol says agents took more than 700 migrants into custody at the El Paso border early Wednesday.
El Paso Border Patrol Supervisor Ramiro Cordero said those detained include two convicted sex offenders who had been deported after serving jail time in the states and an escaped convict.
As for the other migrants, who came in several large groups, Cordero did not yet know if they were all seeking asylum.
“We won’t know that until they are all processed,” he said. “This is just 700 today; we’re still not done with the ones from yesterday and the day before. It will be awhile.”
Border Patrol officials announced Tuesday that more than 76,000 migrants crossed the Southwestern border in February and more than 70 large groups of 100 or more migrants have crossed the border since October, with 29 in New Mexico alone.
The groups are comprised of mainly families and unaccompanied minors from Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras.
The most recent influx started just after midnight when agents caught a group of 112 migrants at the border wall near Downtown El Paso, according to a news release sent out Wednesday.
Officials say that at the same time Border Patrol was working to process 252 migrants who were found at the border just west of Bowie High School.
“Throughout the morning hours several smaller groups also arrived at multiple locations along the border in the El Paso metropolitan area,” according to the release. “In just a few hours the total number taken into custody exceeded 500.”
Officials say an unaccompanied 2-year-old was found in one of the groups and agents are working to locate the parents.
Cordero said agents arrested two convicted-sex offenders while Border Patrol was preoccupied with the large groups.
“Both subjects had been convicted of their sex offenses and had served time in jail before being deported from the United States,” according to the release.
Agents also found a 28-year-old U.S. citizen, wanted on a federal arrest warrant, in a group of six migrants caught in far-East El Paso County. That person was turned over to the U.S. Marshals Service.
The vast majority of Central Americans entering the country are fleeing poverty and violence and are seeking asylum, a legal claim that is decided in immigration court by a judge.