After members of the Texas National Guard prevented federal agents from reaching migrants who ultimately perished, Governor Greg Abbott came under fire online. Six distressed migrants were seen trying to cross the Rio Grande River when federal Border Patrol authorities discovered them.
The first phone calls by Border Patrol agents to notify state authorities were unsuccessful. Following this, federal agents made an effort to get access to a processing and holding facility for migrants at Shelby Park, close to Eagle Pass. This facility had been previously taken over by Texas National Guard forces sent in by the Republican governor. Even in a dire situation, the state unit refused to let the federal agents in, as stated by Cuellar. The FBI was “physically” prevented from entering the location. A lady and two children, who were migrants, perished in the end.
Republican lawmakers have characterized the recent spikes in migrant crossings as a “crisis” or “invasion,” in contrast to their Democratic counterparts who have advocated for more accessible procedures for people seeking refuge. Several Republicans in Congress have been vocal in their disapproval of President Joe Biden’s approach to the matter and have sought to include stricter legislation as a critical component of future budget agreements.
According to Eagle Pass Mayor Rolando Salinas, the Texas Department of Public Safety commandeered Shelby Park as part of an emergency declaration, forcing the community to accept the takeover. Department of Homeland Security General Counsel Jonathan Meyer reportedly wrote to Texas stating that the Lone Star State had “impeded operations of the Border Patrol,” adding fuel to the fire that was already burning between Abbott and the Biden administration before the event.
Among the many groups that condemned Abbott after the drowning tragedy was the Texas Democratic Party, which accused him of being complicit in the deaths of children under the guise of “border security” and dubbed him the “grim reaper” of the state.