Texas National Guard Soldiers Prevent Border Patrol Agents from Rescuing Drowning Migrants

Federal Border Patrol Agents have alleged that the Texas National Guard soldiers prevented them from rescuing a woman and two children from drowning in the Rio Grande river.

Federal officials and a Texas congressman said National Guard soldiers deployed by Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott did not allow Border Patrol agents to attempt to rescue the migrants. Earlier this week, Texas National Guard soldiers abruptly seized control of a public park in Eagle Pass that Border Patrol had been using to hold migrants, marking the latest escalation in an intensifying political and legal feud between Abbott and President Biden over U.S. border policy.

On Friday night, Border Patrol identified six migrants in the Rio Grande who were in distress near the park, known as Shelby Park, Democratic Congressman Henry Cuellar said in a statement Saturday. Federal agents, Cuellar added, unsuccessfully attempted to contact Texas state officials about the emergency by phone. Then, when Border Patrol agents went to the park and asked to be allowed to render aid to the migrants, they were denied entry, according to Cuellar.

A U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) official, who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the press, said Cuellar’s description of the events was accurate. In a statement Saturday, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said Texas officials obstructed Border Patrol’s attempts to rescue the migrants on Friday.

"Tragically, a woman and two children drowned last night in the Shelby Park area of Eagle Pass, which was commandeered by the State of Texas earlier this week," the department said. "In responding to a distress call from the Mexican government, Border Patrol agents were physically barred by Texas officials from entering the area."

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