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  5. A Texas state trooper said Gov. Greg Abbott's border security has 'stepped over a line into the inhumane' with razor wire 'traps' and direction to withhold water from migrants, per reports

A Texas state trooper said Gov. Greg Abbott's border security has 'stepped over a line into the inhumane' with razor wire 'traps' and direction to withhold water from migrants, per reports

Lloyd Lee   

A Texas state trooper said Gov. Greg Abbott's border security has 'stepped over a line into the inhumane' with razor wire 'traps' and direction to withhold water from migrants, per reports
  • Texas Gov. Greg Abbott launched a border security initiative in 2021 to respond to a surge in migrants.
  • Several Texas troopers said border security was given orders to push migrants back into the water.

A state trooper with the Texas Department of Public Safety recently called some of the apparent directives given to border security officers "inhumane," claiming that he had been ordered to push migrants "back into the water to go to Mexico" and to deny them drinking water, according to emails obtained and published by the Houston Chronicle, which is owned by Hearst.

In 2021, Gov. Greg Abbott launched a $5 billion border security initiative, Operation Lone Star, to respond to a historic surge in migrants crossing the southwest border. The state has since deployed more troops with the National Guard and Department of Public Safety.

This year, miles of concertina wire — a type of razor wire — and large orange buoys were installed to deter migrants crossing through the Rio Grande River near the city of Eagle Pass.

Since the new measures have been implemented, in addition to the source cited by the Chronicle several other state troopers have raised concerns against the governor's aggressive approach, The New York Times reported.

According to a memo to the state's Department of Public Safety that was obtained by The Times, US Border Patrol officials have also raised concerns about razor wire placed along the river, saying that the wire creates hazardous conditions for the migrants and border agents.

The Texas trooper provided accounts of migrants getting caught in the razor wire and being ordered to deny people drinking water while weathering the extreme heat, according to The Associated Press, which also reviewed the emails.

Texas Trooper Nicholas Wingate, a medic, claimed in a message to a superior that he and another trooper were ordered to "push the people back into the water to go to Mexico" after running into a group of 120 migrants, including children and mothers with babies, in June.

Three other Texas state troopers also said they were giving explicit orders to deny water and tell migrants to go back to Mexico, The Times reported.

According to the Chronicle, Wingate urged for policy changes to improve safety for the migrants, including removing the order to deny migrants water.

"Due to the extreme heat, the order to not give people water needs to be immediately reversed as well," the trooper wrote.

A spokesperson for the Texas Department of Safety did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Travis Considine, a spokesperson for the Department of Safety, told Associated Press said that the agency did not have a directive to push migrants back into the river or deny them drinking water and that the claims from Wingate are being investigated.

"Troopers give migrants water," Considine said on Twitter.

"If there are women and children who are asking for water, they're getting water," Considine told The Times. "A group of 30 adult males comes, and they're begging for water. I'm not going to say there are not troopers saying, 'We're not going to give you water.'"

According to The Times, Considine added that troopers might tell migrants to get water in Mexico if they do not appear to be in distress.

Abbott also released a statement Tuesday saying that "no orders or directions have been given under Operation Lone Star that would compromise the lives of those attempting to cross the border illegally."

Abbott's office did not respond to an inquiry to address the specific accounts from Wingate.

The details in the email provide a glimpse of some of the risks thousands of migrants attempting to cross the US-Mexico border each day face.

Wingate claimed in an email to have witnessed a pregnant woman who was having a miscarriage getting caught in the wire. In another account, a four-year-old girl passed out from heat exhaustion and was pushed back by National Guard soldiers, the Chronicle reported.

The trooper also sent an email to a superior that suggested razor wire-wrapped barrels were installed in some parts of the river — describing them as "traps" — that can increase the risk of drowning because they push people into deeper parts of the river, according to the report.

Considine told The Times that "barrel traps" were not deployed but that it was possible a barrel wrapped in razor wire floated away. His department has yet to confirm the case, he said.

"I believe we a have stepped over a line into the in humane," Wingate wrote, according to Breitbart, which revealed more aspects of the trooper's email. "We need to operate it correctly in the eyes of God. We need to recognize that these are people who are made in the image of God and need to be treated as such."

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