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Federal Officials Blame Texas Troops for Death of Three Migrants at Rio Grande Crossing

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US Troops at River Rio Grand
Source: Mia/X

Friday, January 12, was a sad day. A migrant Mexican woman and her two children drowned in one of North America’s longest rivers, the Rio Grande. The Rio Grande River forms a border between Mexico and Texas. The family was trying to cross it to enter the Lone Star State when they met their unfortunate end. Federal officials blame Texas troops for this.

According to a Department of Homeland Security spokesperson, the Mexican government alerted the U.S. Border Patrol agents that some migrants in distress were attempting to cross the river. “In responding to a distress call from the Mexican government, Border Patrol agents were physically barred by Texas officials from entering the area,” the spokesperson said. 

U.S. Representative Henry Cuellar corroborated this account by stating that “Texas Military Department soldiers stated they would not grant access to the migrants – even in the event of an emergency – and that they would send a soldier to investigate the situation.”

This was after the Federal agents physically went to the Shelby Park entrance in their bid to relay the information to the Texas Military Department (TMD) and the Texas National Guard officials there when efforts to reach them by phone failed. Cuellar called the incident a tragedy and said “the state bears responsibility” for it. 

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ALSO READ: Texas Republicans Seek to Disqualify Abbott-Backed Candidate

It’s no news that Republican Texas Governor Greg Abbott and President Biden are currently in dispute over U.S. border policy. While there are reports that illegal migrants have doubled under Biden, Abbott is committed to ending the illegal crossings by every means possible.

The Governor has made several attempts to have the state control the border even though it has always been the federal government’s domain. As expected, Biden’s administration has kicked against this. 

In a filing before the U.S. Supreme Court, Texas was accused of preventing federal Border Patrol agents from entering a boat ramp used to access the river by erecting new barriers. Texas, in response, stated that the Border Patrol agents hadn’t used the boat ramp for some months and the state was “unaware of federal law enforcement’s current objections and was working promptly to address them.”

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POLL—Should the U.S. Government Create a Path to Citizenship for Undocumented Immigrants?

Reacting to the 3 drownings, the Justice Department said, “It is impossible to say what might have happened if Border Patrol had had its former access to the area — including through its surveillance trucks that assisted in monitoring the area,” and “At the very least, however, Border Patrol would have had the opportunity to take any available steps to fulfill its responsibilities and assist its counterparts in the Mexican government with undertaking the rescue mission. Texas made that impossible.”

Meanwhile, the Texas government has denied these allegations. According to the Texas Military Department, the Border Patrol notified them of the migrant distress situation at about 9 pm. However, no one was found when the unit closest to the boat ramp searched the Rio Grande.

ALSO READ: Texas Governor Greg Abbott Boasts He Has Sent Nearly 100,000 Migrants to “Sanctuary Cities”

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“At no time did TMD security personnel along the river observe any distressed migrants, nor did TMD turn back any illegal immigrants from the U.S. during this period,” the department stated.

However, Abbott’s government has continued to be called out for what is termed their “cruel, dangerous, and inhumane” policies. “The State of Texas should stop interfering with the U.S. Border Patrol’s enforcement of U.S. law,” says the Department of Homeland Security.

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