(The Center Square) – Texas officials are speaking out about what they argue is a false narrative being perpetrated by several media outlets regarding illegal border crossers at the Rio Grande River in Texas.
On Monday, the Houston Chronicle reported that a whistleblower with Texas DPS said officers were told “to push children into the Rio Grande River and deny water to migrants.” Other media outlets reported the story.
Democratic critics have also blamed Gov. Greg Abbott, a pro-life Roman Catholic, for a woman’s recent miscarriage after she attempted to illegally enter Texas in an area blocked off by Texas DPS.
“I truly believe in the mission of Operation Lone Star,” one of the troopers wrote, according to The Week Magazine via Yahoo News. “I believe we have stepped over a line into the inhumane.”
Texas Border Czar Mike Banks, Texas DPS Director Steve McCraw, and Texas Adjutant General Major General Thomas Suelzer – the men leading OLS efforts – issued a joint statement in response to the accusations.
“No orders or directions have been given under Operation Lone Star that would compromise the lives of those attempting to cross the border illegally,” they said. Texas DPS and the Texas Military Department are monitoring illegal border crossers in distress, they said, including providing “appropriate medical attention when needed.”
OLS officers also encourage illegal foreign nationals to use “one of 29 international bridges along the Texas-Mexico Border where they can safely and legally cross.
“With migrants from over 150 countries encouraged by open border policies to risk their lives and make this dangerous trek to enter our country illegally, Texas is deploying every tool and strategy to deter and repel illegal crossings between ports of entry,” the officials wrote. “The absence of these tools and strategies—including concertina wire that snags clothing—encourages migrants to make potentially life-threatening and illegal crossings.”
They also said that all OLS personnel “are prepared to detect and respond to any individuals who may need water or medical attention. Operation Lone Star agency partners use verbal warnings and signage to direct migrants attempting to illegally cross from Mexico into Texas to use ports of entry to protect the lives of migrants, DPS troopers, and Texas National Guard soldiers. Until President Biden reverses his open border policies and does his job to secure the border, Texas will continue protecting Texans and Americans from the chaos along the border.”
Illegal border crossers pose a great risk to Texas law enforcement. A Border Patrol agent and state trooper were killed last year when pursuing individuals attempting to illegally cross the border. One Texas National Guardsman drowned after trying to rescue a drug smuggler attempting to get across the border undetected.
In response to the media coverage, a Border Patrol agent working in the area told The Center Square those illegally entering between ports of entry are doing so at the direction of Mexican cartels. “We have no idea who these people are based on the amount of fake documents we find. We don’t know if they are real family units. The cartel is kidnapping children south of the U.S. border and selling them to single adults so they can be admitted as a family unit. Before, we could mitigate children being recycled using DNA tests. Because DNA testing ended May 31, the cartel is utilizing young children to traffic people across the border.” The agent spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal.
Alliance for a Safe Texas founder, abortion opponent and Texan, Sheena Rodriguez told The Center Square the Houston Chronicle article and subsequent coverage was a “hit piece attempting to blame Texas guardsmen and DPS for injuries illegal aliens incurred themselves after they willingly chose to break into our country instead of going to a port of entry.”
“Contrary to claims made by critics, Gov. Abbott is not responsible for illegal aliens crossing into Texas between ports of entry,” she said. “The woman in question could have miscarried for numerous reasons—including complications from undertaking a perilous journey to come here. Criticisms against those of us who are pro-life, including Gov. Abbott, are unfounded.”
“Border security is a pro-life issue,” she maintains. “Open border policies are not pro-life because they entice the exploitation of human beings. Texas DPS officers are well known for saving babies whom cartel operatives throw in the river, which just recently happened. Our governor and law enforcement officers are committed to preserving life, including those of Texans whose lives are threatened every day by cartel related violence and crime.”