Fourteen armed Mexican soldiers crossed into El Paso, Texas, from Ciudad Juarez in Mexico on Saturday morning and were later arrested by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents, officials told Reuters in an emailed statement.
“Just after midnight today CBP officers working at the Bridge of the America’s international crossing in El Paso noted two Mexican military vehicles crossing the boundary and entering the U.S.,” the border officials stated.
According to the outlet, the 14 Mexican soldiers said they didn’t realize they had crossed the U.S.-Mexico border. In the interest of “safety and processing,” the U.S. border agents seized the soldiers’ weapons and equipment. U.S. officials contacted Mexican military leadership, who arrived at the station shortly thereafter.
Thirteen of the soldiers were detained without incident. One soldier was processed with a civil penalty after officials located a small amount of marijuana in his possession.
Every soldier, as well as all of their equipment and vehicles, were returned to Mexico, the CBP said.
One witness to the incident said CBP agents “yelled at the soldiers to put their hands up and drop their weapons immediately.”
The border crossing was temporarily closed as a result of the incident, another witness said.
On Sunday, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas admitted thousands of Haitian illegal immigrants have been released into the United States after overwhelming border officials last week when they poured across the southern border into Del Rio, Texas.
“About 3,000 are actually in detention, and we make those detention determinations in the best interest of the American public,” Mayorkas told host Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday. “Others are in immigration court proceedings, they are monitored by us, we impose conditions upon them, we keep in touch with them, and we ensure their appearance in court as the law requires.”
“Approximately 10,000, or so, 12,000 [have been released into the United States],” Mayorkas responded after Wallace pressed the DHS secretary for a response. “It could be even higher.”
The secretary’s revelations conflict with his warning last week that migrants who cross into the United States illegally will be deported.
“If you come to the United States illegally, you will be returned, your journey will not succeed, and you will be endangering your life and your family’s life,” he said last Monday at a news conference.
More than 200,000 illegal immigrant apprehensions occurred at the southern border for the second month in a row in August, CBP statistics show.