Are Migrants Really Using Storm Drains to Enter U.S. Illegally?
Is it true that migrants are entering storm drains in Juarez and then popping out in the U.S.?
That’s certainly the way a report on KFOX makes it sound. Here’s the way the headline ran on June 27 2023 on KFOX.com:
"Migrants Use Storm Drain Equipped with Oxygen to Enter US Illegally in El Paso."
That SEEMS pretty unambiguous. Migrants are using storm drains to illegally enter the U.S.
But is this really happening? Upon reading the story very closely I have my doubts.
A storm drain near Border Patrol's Ysleta Station was used by migrants to make their way into the U.S. illegally.
That doesn’t say exactly what the headline says. It says a storm drain was used “to make their WAY IN THE U.S.” (emphasis mine).
Checking other sources also gives me doubt. In this one from earlier this year. It says that there’s a long history of using storm drains “to elude capture by the U.S. Border Patrol” going back to at least the 1960s.
This with the headline, “17 Migrants Rescued from a Storm Drain Tunnel” actually explains that the migrants didn’t use a storm drain to ENTER the U.S., they actually “attempted to escape Border Patrol” by using a storm drain tunnel.
After reading several more stories about migrants and storm drains, I had to ask myself: “ARE there storm drains that people enter in Mexico and pop out in El Paso like Bugs Bunny arriving at Pismo Beach?”
CAPTION: Coincidentally, “making a wrong turn at Albuquerque” is one of the main ways people find El Paso.
The short answer is “No”.
I made calls with Border Patrol and a source confirmed that there is, in fact, no connection between storm drains in Juarez and storm drains in El Paso. Further, my source said that all of the recent encounters with immigrants in storm drains were only AFTER they had entered the U.S. at a separate, non-tunnel point of entry.
Here’s what I think is going on. Some of these drains are really, really close to the border…but they’re all on the U.S. side. When writing the headline, it’s just too tempting to make it sound like there are storm drains connecting a city in the USA to a city in Mexico.
It’s the only way I can figure that there are so many of these stories where the headline says or implies one thing and the story itself says differently.
Here’s a report from 2018 about the discovery of a TUNNEL near the border.
The headline sure IMPLIES that it was a tunnel connecting the US and Mexico…but, right in the story, it says the tunnel “is on the US side and DOES NOT cross into Mexico”.
Make no mistake…just because there aren’t storm drains that connect El Paso to Juarez…the use of storm drains to elude capture is very, very dangerous. The migrants are in peril of getting stuck or running out of oxygen. And they put border patrol and first responders in danger when they have to rescue and/or apprehend them.
But tunnels between El Paso and Juarez seem to be primarily from the realm of urban legend.
In an El Paso Times story from 2007, El Paso historian Fred Morales said this:
“There are no tunnels between Juarez and El Paso. Those are fables and stories, like La Llorona and the chupacabra”.
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