TEXAS, USA — This week's news about a state investigation into Texas DPS troopers' alleged treatment of people trying to cross the border — including the claim they were told to push migrant children into the Rio Grande — has been met with outcry from political leaders in the Lone Star State and beyond.
U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro and other Texas legislators held a news conference Tuesday afternoon about what Castro called "horrific" reports on the border security claims. Earlier in the day, he called the details "monstrous" and "inhumane" and said he has requested that the federal government intervene.
Gov. Greg Abbott's office issued a statement Tuesday afternoon denying that personnel deployed to the border were ordered to do anything "that would compromise the lives" of migrants.
Most politicians who blasted the alleged behavior are Democrats. That includes State Sen. Roland Gutierrez, who likened details of the alleged border security treatment to policies that "left defenseless kids to die in Uvalde," referring to last year's school shooting in his South Texas district.
Later on Tuesday afternoon, Gutierrez tweeted that he's requested a federal investigation into border security policy.
U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett said the alleged orders amount to a "political stunt" that will cause migrants to "unnecessarily lose their lives."
State Rep. Diego Bernal was comparatively blunt in his reaction.
Not all who are responding to the reports with criticism are Democrats. U.S. Rep. Tony Gonzales also weighed in online, saying in part, "I find it disturbing for anyone, much less a child, to be deprived of water in 100-degree weather, regardless of their immigration status."
Gov. Abbott's office said that law enforcement members involved in the border security operation "are prepared to detect and respond to any individuals who may need water or medical attention."
"The Texas Department of Public Safety and Texas Military Department continue taking steps to monitor migrants in distress, provide appropriate medical attention when needed, and encourage them to use one of the 29 international bridges along the Texas-Mexico Border where they can safely and legally cross," the statement reads.
"Texas is deploying every tool and strategy to deter and repel illegal crossings between ports of entry. The absence of these tools and strategies—including concertina wire that snags clothing—encourages migrants to make potentially life-threatening and illegal crossings."
The latest monthly report from U.S. Customs and Border Protection, covering June, indicates that border encounters along the southwest border are at their lowest levels since February 2021, despite the lifting of Title 42 in late May.
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