The illegals were “posing a potential threat to make a mass entry,” and physical barriers were put up to restrict their entry at the Paso Del Norte International Bridge on Sunday afternoon, spokesman Roger Maier said in a statement to The Associated Press on Monday.
Barricades also were used in El Paso for a short time Sunday afternoon at other border crossings including the Bridge of Americas and the Stanton-Lerdo bridge, Maier said.
Video of the scene at the Paso Del Norte bridge on Sunday showed hundreds of illegals brush past Mexican National Guard officers on the Mexican side, some carrying children on their shoulders. Many appeared to be Venezuelan, by their accents.
Shouting “We want to get through!,” the illegals ran up to the center line of the bridge, where U.S. authorities had erected concrete and plastic barriers strung with concertina wire.
The illegals were stopped by the barrier, and remained on the Mexican side, shouting “Open up for us!” to the U.S. officers. After a time, the illegals ran back toward the Mexican side.
Traffic was reopened and flowing in both directions as of Sunday evening, Maier said. It wasn’t immediately known what caused the attempted mass crossing. A message seeking comment was left with the mayor’s office in El Paso.
The rush across the bridge may have been sparked by false rumors, said Camilo Cruz, who works with the U.N. migration office in Ciudad Juarez.
Cruz said there was “a rumor that they were going to let them cross massively, particularly people who arrived with children.”
Cruz said the rumors are a recurrent problem. About a month ago, messages began circulating “that there were going to be buses on the U.S. side to take them to Canada ... and when they arrived, they were told it was a lie.”