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Over the weekend, a woman and two children drowned in the Rio Grande while attempting to enter the United States from Mexico illegally.
According to officials, the victims were attempting to cross Shelby Park in Eagle Pass, where the Texas National Guard recently added barriers, challenging the traditional federal jurisdiction over border security.
US Representative Henry Cuellar revealed that Border Patrol agents were alerted about migrants in distress but were denied entry by Texas Military Department soldiers, who allegedly refused access even in emergency situations. According to Congressman Cuellar, “Texas Military Department soldiers stated they would not grant access to the [agents] – even in the event of an emergency. And that they would send a soldier to investigate the situation.” According to Congressman Cuellar, the victims’ bodies were retrieved on Saturday by Mexican authorities
The Texas Military Department provided a different account, claiming they had searched the river area and ceased operations after Mexican authorities said they no longer needed assistance.
This incident occurred on Friday night amidst a heated dispute between Texas Governor Greg Abbott and President Joe Biden’s administration over immigration policies.
In a recent Supreme Court filing, the Biden administration accused Texas of hindering Border Patrol agents’ access to crucial areas along the Rio Grande, including a boat ramp used for river operations. Texas officials, however, claimed they were unaware of federal law enforcement’s objections to these barriers and had been working to address them. According to US Representative Henry Cuellar, a Democrat, Border Patrol agents were notified of the migrants in distress but were denied access by Texas Military Department (TMD) soldiers, who refused to allow intervention even in an emergency.