DOJ Fact-Checks White House Claim Against Texas In Drowning Incident

In a recent incident at the southern border, the Biden administration accused the state of Texas of preventing federal Border Patrol agents from rescuing three migrants who tragically drowned. However, this claim was contradicted by the Department of Justice (DOJ) under the same administration, highlighting a discrepancy within the government’s own accounts.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), speaking on behalf of the Biden administration, alleged that Texas officials had physically barred Border Patrol agents from entering the area in response to a distress call from the Mexican government. Strong language was used by the DHS spokesperson, labeling Texas as “cruel, dangerous, and inhumane.” Nevertheless, the DOJ’s account of the incident painted a different picture, revealing that the allegations against Texas authorities were unfounded.

According to the DOJ’s report, on January 12 at 9:00 p.m., the Mexican government alerted Border Patrol that three migrants, including two children and one woman, had drowned at 8:00 p.m. However, Border Patrol only informed the Texas Military Department about the drowning over an hour after it had occurred. This timeline directly contradicts the initial claim made by the Biden administration.

This allegation emerged shortly after Texas took control of a park in Eagle Pass, which was previously utilized by Border Patrol for processing undocumented immigrants before releasing them into the United States. The seizure of the park is part of an ongoing dispute between the state of Texas and the federal government, with both parties engaged in legal battles surrounding the state’s placement of razor wire along the border.

The Texas Military Department swiftly responded to the accusation, directly refuting any involvement in preventing the rescue of distressed migrants. In a statement, they stated, “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 was further revealed that other migrants who faced difficulties while attempting to cross the Rio Grande were actually rescued by the Mexican government approximately 45 minutes after Border Patrol had informed Texas authorities of the situation, as confirmed by Governor Greg Abbott’s office.

U.S. Representative Henry Cuellar, a Democrat from Texas, utilized this incident to criticize the state’s approach to border defense, asserting that Texas “bears responsibility” for the deaths. However, with the DOJ’s contradictory account and the Texas Military Department’s denial of any hindrance, the political implications surrounding this tragedy remain contentious.

The context of this incident is crucial, as Texas has taken steps to secure its border due to an overwhelming surge in illegal immigration since President Joe Biden took office. Shockingly, over 10 million individuals have crossed the border illegally during this period, including a significant number of Chinese nationals and a staggering 1,000% increase in illegal immigration from countries such as Afghanistan, Ethiopia, and the Dominican Republic.

The southern border continues to witness unprecedented numbers, with November alone breaking the previous monthly record for encounters. Official DHS statistics indicate that just under a quarter million migrants were encountered during that month. Though December figures are yet to be released by DHS, it has been reported that the number of encounters at the southern border exceeded 300,000.

This incident serves as a reminder of the complex issues surrounding border security and the ongoing tensions between the state of Texas and the federal government. The tragic loss of life underscores the urgent need for effective collaboration and comprehensive solutions to address the challenges at the southern border.