Texas dispels claim that Border Patrol was prevented from rescuing drowned migrants

The Texas Military Department shut down claims by the Department of Homeland Security and a Texas congressman that it prevented U.S. border agents from rescuing a woman and two children who drowned in the Rio Grande.

As BizPac Review reported, Texas Governor Greg Abbott deployed his state’s National Guard to seize Shelby Park in Eagle Pass, a key staging area for the Biden administration’s Border Patrol. The Guard has re-erected the razor wire that was cut by Border Patrol and is barring the agents from entering.


On Saturday, Texas Rep. Henry Cuellar, a Democrat, issued a statement claiming Border Patrol wanted to save the woman and children, but Texas soldiers refused to let them.

“I recently learned that three migrants — a female adult and two children — drowned in the Rio Grande River near Shelby Park in Eagle Pass,” Cuellar said.

“Border Patrol attempted to contact the Texas Military Department, the Texas National Guard, and DPS Command Post by telephone to relay the information, but were unsuccessful,” he continued. “Border Patrol agents then made physical contact with the Texas Military Department and the Texas National Guard at the Shelby Park Entrance Gate and verbally relayed the information. However, Texas Military Department soldiers stated they would not grant access to the migrants – even in the event of an emergency – and that they would send a soldier to investigate the situation.”

“Earlier today, Saturday, January 13, 2024, the three migrant bodies were recovered by Mexican authorities,” Cueller claimed. “Border Patrol personnel were forced out of Shelby Park earlier this week by the Texas National Guard under order of Governor Abbott. As a result, Border Patrol was unable to render aid to the migrants and attempt to save them. This is a tragedy, and the State bears responsibility.”

A Department of Homeland Security spokesperson echoed Cuellar’s statement.

“In responding to a distress call from the Mexican government, Border Patrol agents were physically barred by Texas officials from entering the area,” the spokesperson said, according to NBC News.

But, according to the Texas Military Department, no such tragedy took place under their watch.

“The Texas Military Department is aware of a social media post concerning the drownings of 3 migrants,” it said in a statement. “TMD was contacted by Border Patrol at approximately 9:00pm in reference to a migrant distress situation. TMD had a unit in the vicinity of the boat ramp and actively searched the river with lights and night vision goggles. No migrants were observed.”

Mexico, according to TMD, had the situation under control.

“At approximately 9:45pm TMD observed a group of Mexican authorities responding to an incident on the Mexico-side of the river bank,” the department stated. “TMD reported their observations back to Border Patrol and they confirmed that the Mexican authorities required no additional assistance. At that time TMD ceased search operations.”

“At no time did TMD security personnel along the river observe any distressed migrants, nor did TMD turn back any illegal immigrants from the US during this period,” it stressed. “Also, at no point was TMD made aware of any bodies in the area of Shelby Park nor was TMD made aware of any bodies being discovered on the U.S. side of the border regarding this situation. TMD maintains water rescue equipment and actively works with local EMS to aid migrants in need of medical care.”

Lending credence to TMD’s account of the event, according to Texas Department of Public Safety spokesperson, Lieutenant Chris Olivarez, are reports from the Mexican press.

“In addition, several media outlets in Mexico reported that the Mexican authorities rescued one female adult and a 10-year-old child with signs of hypothermia who were transported to a hospital in Mexico but further noted that a 33-year-old female was pronounced deceased along with two children ages 8 & 10,” Olivarez said on X.

Responses to Rep. Cuellar were less than kind.

“Rep. Cuellar needs to check his facts before posting about events that are blatant lies,” one angry user stated. “Our Border Patrol Agents have enough to contend with and have no need for those instigating lies that serve no purpose.”

“All propaganda because Abbott took back Eagle Pass from criminals,” noted another.

“So not only did TX Congressman [Rep. Cuellar] lie like the disgusting Democrat he is, but it’s his policies that caused these deaths in the first place,” said a third.

“What a pathetic liar this pendejo [Rep. Cuellar] is,” one user declared. “Seriously, something tells me he’s been bought by cartel already.”

Melissa Fine

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