Two migrant children and mother die at US-Mexico border after Texas law enforcement blocks Border Patrol access for emergency aid – JURIST

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Two migrant children and their mother drowned on Friday while trying to cross from Mexico into the United States, after Texas law enforcement authorities prevented officials with the US Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) from reaching the victims to render life-saving aid, said US Representative Henry Cuellar. Cuellar represents a district on the border.

Despite seeing the migrants in distress, and making calls to Texas state officials to alert them to the problem, Mexican officials recovered the three bodies on Saturday morning on their side of the Rio Grande River, across from the Shelby Park and Eagle Pass areas of Texas.

“This is a tragedy and the State [Texas] bears responsibility,” said Cuellar in his statement detailing the series of events.

In a court filing with the US Supreme Court, mere hours before the death of the migrant children and their mother, the US Department of Justice told the Supreme Court that the Texas National Guard recently deployed armed guards and vehicles to block access to the Rio Grande and informed Border Patrol agents that they would not be allowed to enter Shelby Park “in any operational capacity.”

“Texas Military Department soldiers stated they would not grant access to the migrants – even in the event of an emergency,” Cuellar said. “Border Patrol personnel were forced out of Shelby Park earlier this week by the Texas Nation Guard under order of Governor Abbott. As a result, Border Patrol was unable to render aid to the migrants and attempt to save them.”

Friday’s deaths occurred in the context of a series of brewing legal battles between the US federal government and the state of Texas. A new Texas bill that would allow the arrest of so-called undocumented migrants (migrants can legally seek asylum without any documentation), floating barriers at the US/Mexico border installed by the state, and this weekend’s efforts to physically block federal access to the US border all add tension to an already unstable situation. Cuellar said this legal conflict directly led to the deaths of the migrant children and their mother,

Gabrien Gregory, a former candidate for Texas House District 121, said on social media that the failure of Texas state officials to allow the children and their mother to be saved necessitates federal intervention. “Another woman and two children dead as a result of Governor Abbott’s policies,” Gregory said. “I know [President Biden] cares but there needs to be action right now. We need to federalize the National Guard & get this situation in Texas in check.”

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