The mob of migrants who attempted to storm the US border at El Paso, Texas, on Monday were led by an artist and activist and was a stunt which went wrong — leading to his arrest.
Roberto Marquez, a US citizen from Dallas, told The Post he organized the gathering of migrants who stormed toward officers waving giant Venezuelan and Honduran flags, as well as a US flag with “We the migrants built America” stitched onto it.
The situation became violent after one Border Patrol agent was attacked with a flag pole and another was hit was a rock.
Border Patrol agents responded to the crowd by using “less-lethal crowd control measures,” like shooting pepper balls.
Brandon Judd, president of the Border Patrol union, told The Post it was an unusual to see a seemingly spontaneous uprising.
“That type of an organized effort does not normally come from people who are just coming up from another country that are going to be asking for asylum,” he said.
The migrants who rushed the border were mostly Venezuelan asylum-seekers who had already crossed the international border and had been expelled to Mexico under a recent mandate by President Biden.
Venezuelans interviewed by Bordereport.com and El Diario said they had been instructed by the activist to cross the river and head across the border.
Ejected migrants have been amassing on the Mexican side of the border, erecting a tent city while waiting for another chance to enter the US. Pictures taken by a Post photographer Thursday show how the encampment is growing, with new and often destitute and desperate people joining the crowd daily.
Marquez’s son confirmed to The Post on Friday he had been arrested and his mother had been helping to get him released. El Paso jail records show Marquez had been charged with failure to report to a port of entry for inspection and released Friday.
The other man arrested, a Venezuelan national who has not been identified, will face charges of entry without inspection — which could find him ejected from the US and barred from entering again.
A video posted by Marquez shows him and another man people presenting a US flag to Border Patrol agents before the confrontation between migrants and Border Patrol agents began.
Marquez’ Instagram profile, documents how he coached stranded Venezuelans to help him make the large US flag used in the protest.
The attention-loving artist’s social media account is filled with coverage he’s received heading to crisis zones, like Hurricane Ian and the war in Ukraine — where he recently said he had helped locals dig their loved ones out of shallow graves.
It’s unclear what consequences Marquez’ latest media stunt will have on any Venezuelans who participated. Although most ran back to into Mexico, they could be identified by cameras on the border, and punished if they attempt to cross into the US again.
On Oct. 13, the Biden Administration applied Title 42 — a pandemic measure to expel immigrants from the US quickly over health concerns — to Venezuelans, if they had entered the country illegally at the Southern border.
Since that time, about 1,800 Venezuelans have been returned to Mexico, finding themselves penniless in Juárez, El Paso’s Mexican sister city.
That number is dwarfed by the total number of Venezuelans — 189,000 — who had crossed the southern border of the US in the fiscal year 2022 — as people fled from the country’s failing economy and unstable political system.
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