Texas Trooper Blows Whistle on 'Inhumane' Orders for Border Migrants

A trooper with the Texas Department of Public Safety has blown the whistle on what they describe as the "inhumane" treatment of migrants trying to cross the U.S.-Mexico border.

The Houston Chronicle reported the contents of an email written by the trooper on Monday that alleges that officers working for Governor Greg Abbott's border force were told not to give migrants water in extreme heat and have been ordered to push small children and nursing babies back into the Rio Grande.

Texas Department of Public Safety spokesman Travis Considine has denied the claims.

The email, dated July 3, was reviewed by Hearst Newspapers, which owns The Houston Chronicle, and lays out details of alleged incidents witnessed by the trooper in Eagle Pass, Texas.

Migrants in the Rio Grande
Migrants are seen in the water along the Rio Grande border with Mexico in Eagle Pass, Texas, on July 16, 2023. A Texas Department of Public Safety trooper has alleged "inhumane" treatment of migrants at the border. SUZANNE CORDEIRO/AFP/Getty Images

Eagle Pass is the location of newly deployed razor wire on a small island in the Rio Grande, while Texas has also deployed floating barriers on the river as part of the state's efforts to secure its border with Mexico.

The email was sent from the trooper to a superior and alleges that a pregnant woman having a miscarriage was found caught in barbed wire last month doubled over in pain.

It also claims that a four year old passed out from exhaustion while trying to go through the wire and that she was pushed back by members of the Texas National Guard on June 30 along with a group of other people.

On June 25, troopers reportedly encountered a group of 120 people that included small children and nursing babies. The email alleges that the shift officer ordered troopers to push the people into the Rio Grande.

The trooper wrote that officers "were given orders to push the people back into the water to go to Mexico," according to CNN, which has also reviewed the email.

Newsweek has reached out to Abbott's office and the Texas Department of Public Safety via email for comment.

In the trooper's email, they said that the razor wire had increased the risk of migrants drowning by forcing them into deeper parts of the Rio Grande and called for changes to improve safety.

"Due to the extreme heat, the order to not give people water needs to be immediately reversed as well," the trooper wrote, according to The Houston Chronicle's report.

Later in the email, the trooper reportedly added: "I believe we have stepped over a line into the inhumane."

Texas Department of Public Safety spokesman Travis Considine told The Houston Chronicle that there was no policy against providing migrants with water and also provided the newspaper with an email from DPS Director Steven McCraw in which McCraw called for an audit to examine what more could be done to minimize risk to migrants.

In another email, McCraw wrote: "The purpose of the wire is to deter smuggling between the ports of entry and not to injure migrants."

"The smugglers care not if the migrants are injured, but we do, and we must take all necessary measures to mitigate the risk to them including injuries from trying to cross over the concertina wire, drownings and dehydration," he wrote.

In a tweet on Monday, Considine wrote: "Troopers give migrants water. They treat their wounds. They save them from drowning. They also do everything possible to deter them from risking their lives in the first place."

He also shared images of emails he described as "messages between @TxDPS Director McCraw and his chain of command about those challenges."

Abbott's office issued a statement to The Houston Chronicle and CNN.

"Texas is deploying every tool and strategy to deter and repel illegal crossings between ports of entry as President Biden's dangerous open border policies entice migrants from over 150 countries to risk their lives entering the country illegally," the statement said.

"The absence of razor wire and other deterrence strategies encourages migrants to make unsafe and illegal crossings between ports of entry, while making the job of Texas National Guard soldiers and DPS troopers more dangerous and difficult," the statement went on.

"President Biden has unleashed a chaos on the border that's unsustainable, and we have a constitutional duty to respond to this unprecedented crisis," the statement added.

Sawyer Hackett, a Democratic strategist and consultant, shared The Houston Chronicle's article on Twitter on Monday and reacted with anger to the report.

"Holy s***. Texas state troopers were ordered to push migrant children back into the Rio Grande river (filled with razor wire buoys) if they cross—and were told not to give asylum seekers water," Hackett wrote.

"Where is the federal response to Greg Abbott's illegal games?" he added.

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