EAGLE PASS — The Texas Department of Public Safety denied accusations that the department ordered agents to push illegal aliens back into the Rio Grande and deny them drinking water.
“Our troops have not in any way forcefully pushed any migrant — let alone a child — back into the river and have not denied any migrant or anyone water, especially those who need it. In fact, it’s been quite the opposite,” DPS Lieutenant Chris Olivarez tweeted.
The accusations against the DPS were uncovered by reporters after an email sent on July 3 from a DPS medic sparked a state-led investigation.
The Trooper’s Report
An anonymous state trooper claimed his superiors ordered him to shove illegal aliens back into the river and deny them drinking water. According to the medic, DPS commanded him to commit “inhumane” acts.
“We need to recognize that these are people who are made in the image of God and need to be treated as such,” the trooper wrote.
Later in the email, the trooper called the razor wire an “inhumane trap” that “forces” illegal border trespassers to cross the Rio Grande in “unsafe” areas.
However, Texas State Sen. Donna Campbell (R–Dripping Springs) says the razor wire is a safety measure to deter illegal aliens from attempting to cross the Texas-Mexico border.
“I fully support [Governor Abbott’s] efforts to implement measures to deter illegals from trying to cross into Texas. Any illegal immigrant trying to crawl through a razor-barbed wire fence do[es] so at their own risk,” Campbell tweeted.
Despite the immediate criticism of DPS, Texans have stood up in defense of the state agency and its officers.
State Rep. Ellen Troxclair (R–Lakeway) recounts witnessing a different scene with DPS on the border.
“I witnessed DPS troopers being respectful to all while providing medical attention to a child in need,” Troxclair tweeted. “The real outrage should be directed to the cartels that are profiting from human and drug trafficking.”
According to Todd Bensman, a senior fellow at the Center for Immigration Studies, illegal aliens should be held accountable for willingly endangering their children.
“The question is whether the parents who put their children at such obvious risk and hurt them should be held legally accountable,” Bensman tweeted. “Child endangerment charges are in order here.”
On Sunday, DPS troopers arrested Miguel Ernesto Nunez-Martino, an illegal alien from Honduras, for criminal trespassing and endangering a child after he tried to illegally enter the U.S. in Shelby Park, Eagle Pass.
During the investigation, DPS learned through testimony from Lt. Micheal Mattiza that Martinez had thrown his 1-year-old daughter into the Rio Grande.
“The child went under the water completely and was obviously in distress and in danger of drowning,” Mattis said under oath. “The child was crying and visibly terrified.”
Gov. Greg Abbott and Texas Border Czar Mike Banks have issued a joint statement denying the accusations of mistreatment and assuring Texans that they are safely and humanely ensuring that illegal aliens cross “legally.”
No orders or directions have been given under Operation Lone Star that would compromise the lives of those attempting to cross the border illegally. The Texas Department of Public Safety and Texas Military Department continue taking steps to monitor migrants in distress, provide appropriate medical attention when needed, and encourage them to use one of the 29 international bridges along the Texas-Mexico border where they can safely and legally cross. Texas is deploying every tool and strategy to deter and repel illegal crossings between ports of entry.
In March of 2021, Abbott launched Operation Lone Star, sending the National Guard and state troopers to the Texas-Mexico border to deter illegal border crossings. Since 2021, Texas has spent $10 billion on border security through Operation Lone Star.
DPS Takes Action
On Thursday, DPS troopers found a 17-year-old Venezuelan man who had severely injured his ankle while attempting to cross the Rio Grande illegally. In response, the lone state trooper carried him along a dirt road to DPS’ first aid center, where the an ambulance was called to transport the illegal alien to a hospital.
“As troopers attempt to stop migrants from placing themselves in harm’s way by deciding to cross the Rio Grande, the fact is, our Troopers perform more rescues because they are the ones on the front lines rescuing migrants from both dangerous conditions & criminal smugglers,” DPS Lt. Olivarez tweeted.
On Thursday, the U.S. Department of Justice announced they are opening an investigation into the reports of abuse of illegal aliens along the Texas-Mexico border.
“The department is aware of the troubling reports, and we are working with DHS and other relevant agencies to assess the situation,” DOJ spokeswoman Xochitl Hinojosa told Spectrum News.