The U.S. Homeland Security Department revealed on Saturday that Texas authorities denied federal agents access to a border area while attempting to rescue three migrants who tragically drowned. The incident occurred in the Shelby Park area of Eagle Pass. In a filing to the U.S. Supreme Court, Texas acknowledged taking control of the park but disputed the federal government’s characterization of its actions, stating it is working to resolve any disputes over access.
Texas Denies Access, Migrants Drown
The Homeland Security Department stated that Texas officials physically barred Border Patrol agents from entering Shelby Park when responding to a distress call from the Mexican government. The tragic incident resulted in the drowning of three migrants, and Homeland Security criticized Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s policies as “cruel, dangerous, and inhumane.”
U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, a Texas Democrat, accused the Texas Military Department and Texas National Guard of not granting access to Border Patrol agents in an attempt to rescue the migrants. Cuellar asserted that Texas bears responsibility for the tragedy and condemned the state’s actions.
The Justice Department informed the U.S. Supreme Court that Texas had taken control of Shelby Park and prevented Border Patrol agents from entering. The park is a significant migration corridor and a focal point of Governor Abbott’s Operation Lone Star, aimed at curbing illegal border crossings.
Challenges to Access and State’s Response
While Texas challenges claims of denying access, stating the Border Patrol has scaled down its presence, daily crossings diminished, and state resources were redirected to the park. The state contends that federal agents were granted access to securing supplies, further complicating the details of the tragic event.
Members of the public gathered at Shelby Park to hold a ceremony marking the deaths of migrants in the region. Pastor Julio Vasquez highlighted the challenges in obtaining access, mentioning requests made with the city and sharing evidence of the park’s entry being fenced and guarded by the National Guard and military vehicles.