Texas troopers reportedly ordered to push migrant children back into Rio Grande

Eagle Pass, Texas - As part of Texas Governor Greg Abbott's Operation Lone Star, troopers have reportedly been instructed to refuse water to people seeking asylum and to push children back into the Rio Grande.

A woman holds a child on her back as migrants walk near concertina wire in the water along the Rio Grande border with Mexico in Eagle Pass, Texas.
A woman holds a child on her back as migrants walk near concertina wire in the water along the Rio Grande border with Mexico in Eagle Pass, Texas.  © SUZANNE CORDEIRO / AFP

An email sent by a trooper disclosed several incidents of cruel treatment at Eagle Pass, where the Texas state government has ordered the erection of razor wire and a wall of buoys in the river to deter migration, the Houston Chronicle reported.

The trooper described several incidents of Texas' "border security" measures hurting migrants between June 24 and July 1.

He mentioned that a pregnant woman undergoing a miscarriage was found in late June caught in the razor wire, a 4-year-old blacked out due to heat exhaustion after she was repulsed by Texas National Guard officers, a man wounded his leg while trying to free his child from a trap in the water, and a teen broke his leg trying to get around the wire.

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On July 1, a mother and child were removed from the water after trying to cross a portion of the river without wire. They later died at hospital, while the second child remains missing.

Texas' "inhumane" border patrol policies come under scrutiny

Texas Department of Public Safety highway patrol troopers look over the Rio Grande as migrants walk by a string of buoys placed on the water along the Rio Grande border with Mexico in Eagle Pass, Texas.
Texas Department of Public Safety highway patrol troopers look over the Rio Grande as migrants walk by a string of buoys placed on the water along the Rio Grande border with Mexico in Eagle Pass, Texas.  © SUZANNE CORDEIRO / AFP

In a separate incident on June 25, a group of around 120 people, including small children and babies, was camping while hungry and exhausted in Texas' extreme heat.

The commanding officer reportedly ordered troopers to "push the people back into the water to go to Mexico."

Critics of Texas' extreme methods have said the buoys and wire force migrants to deeper and more dangerous parts of the river, significantly increasing the risk of drowning.

"Due to the extreme heat, the order to not give people water needs to be immediately reversed as well," the trooper wrote in his email. "I believe we have stepped over a line into the inhumane."

Cover photo: SUZANNE CORDEIRO / AFP

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