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Asylum-Seekers Held Under a Bridge in El Paso

Claim

Photograph shows asylum-seekers and immigrants being held outdoors behind razor wire under a bridge in El Paso, Texas.

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Reporting

On March 28 2019, a Twitter user shared the following tweet, purportedly showing a large number of people being detained under an overpass in El Paso, Texas:

The images appeared to be authentic and undoctored, but they were not accompanied by a source for their description. We were able to track the photographs to Washington Post reporter Nick Miroff. Miroff and border reporter Bob Moore shared several photographs from the same set:

The second tweet from Miroff referenced a March 27 2019 Washington Post article, “U.S. has hit ‘breaking point’ at border amid immigration surge, Customs and Border Protection chief says.”

An image with the piece had a caption:

Migrants gather inside the fence of a makeshift detention center Wednesday [March 27 2019] in El Paso, where a surge has been overwhelming Border Patrol and the U.S. immigration infrastructure.

The piece initially reported that Customs and Border Patrol commissioner Kevin McAleenan had said that “for the first time in more than a decade, his agency is ‘reluctantly’ performing direct releases of migrants, meaning they are not turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, they are not detained, they are not given ankle bracelets to track their movements and they are allowed to leave with just a notice to appear in court at a later date.”

A subsequent portion referenced the makeshift processing center under a highway overpass in El Paso:

Near where McAleenan spoke [on March 27 2019], an improvised holding pen beneath a highway overpass is serving as a processing center. U.S. agents have been interviewing hundreds of parents and children in a dusty parking lot. Just before the commissioner began speaking, a group of nine parents and children from El Salvador and Panama traversed the Rio Grande, and agents led them to the processing center on foot.

The image from the tweet is authentic and undoctored, showing asylum-seekers held beneath an overpass in El Paso, Texas behind a razor wire fence. According to McAleenan, people were being released from the site, but the length of their detention and wait for processing was unknown.