MIGRATIONTexas Investigating Claim that State Troopers Were Told to Push Migrants Back into the Rio Grande and Deny Them Water

By Uriel J. García

Published 20 July 2023

The Office of the Inspector General is investigating the claims, which include pushing small children and women with nursing babies back into the river and turning away a 4-year-old girl who later passed out on the riverbank from the heat.

A state trooper’s claims that superiors ordered officers at the border in Eagle Pass to push migrants back into the Rio Grande and deny them water has sparked a state investigation, the Texas Department of Public Safety said Tuesday.

The trooper also reported that razor wire deployed by troopers has injured people — including a woman who had a miscarriage while entangled in the wire.

Travis Considine, a DPS spokesperson, said in an email that the Office of the Inspector General, which investigates claims of misconduct by state employees, “is investigating the allegations made in the email in question.”

“There is not a directive or policy that instructs Troopers to withhold water from migrants or push them back into the river,” Considine said.

The allegations made by the trooper were first reported by the Houston Chronicle.

The trooper, who works as a medic, sent the email to a sergeant on July 3 detailing some of the things he witnessed while on patrol in Eagle Pass — where Gov. Greg Abbott recently ordered the deployment of a floating barrier in the Rio Grande to deter migrant crossings.

“I believe we a have stepped over a line into the in humane. We need to operate it correctly in the eyes of God,” the trooper wrote in the email, which DPS provided to The Texas Tribune. “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 said in the email that he was out on patrol around 10 p.m. June 25 when he and other troopers came across a group of about 120 people, including small children and nursing babies, who were “exhausted, hungry and tired” along a fence line on the U.S. side.

“We called the shift officer in command, and we were given orders to push the people back into the water to go to Mexico. We decided that this was not the correct thing to do. With the very real potential of exhausted people drowning. We made contact with command again and expressed our concerns and we were given the order to tell them to go to Mexico.”