(USNewsMag.com) – A Texas congressman and the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) claim that Border Patrol agents allowed three immigrants to drown while attempting to cross into the country illegally. Texas authorities claimed they investigated the matter and found no immigrants in distress.
In a statement from a DHS spokesperson on Saturday, Jan. 13, the federal government claims that “a woman and two children drowned” in the Rio Grande River in Shelby Park, an area in Eagle Pass, Texas, that “was commandeered” by the state earlier that same week. The Shelby Park area along the river was previously used as a processing area for immigrants attempting to cross the border legally.
The DHS claims they were blocked from entering Shelby Park by Texas authorities. In its statement, the department alleges that while answering “a distress call from the Mexican government,” Border Patrol “were physically barred” from the area. The statement described Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s policies as “cruel, dangerous, and inhumane.” They accused the state of disregarding “federal authority over immigration,” which they said “poses grave risks.” The DHS said that the Lone Star State “should stop interfering” with Border Patrol agents who are trying to enforce federal immigration law.
A Customs and Border Protection (CBP) spokesperson also gave a statement on the incident and said the agency is saddened by the loss of life and “gravely concerned” by the state’s actions preventing Border Patrol agents “from performing their essential missions.”
A White House spokesperson blamed the drownings on Abbott, accusing the governor of performing “political stunts” through his policies to secure the southern border as part of Operation Lone Star. The incident represents the standstill between the federal government and the Texas government about how to handle the border and immigration crises. Texas believes the Biden administration is not doing its job to stop the flow and secure the border, while the federal government accuses the state of overstepping its power.
Abbott recently signed a law that will allow state authorities to arrest immigrants who try to enter the country illegally and then quickly deport them back over the border into Mexico. The federal government is challenging the law, which they claim violates their authority and threatens international relations with Mexico.
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