Mexico’s Foreign Relations Department reported Wednesday that authorities had recovered two bodies in the Rio Grande river, including one along a floating barrier erected by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R).
The body near the barrier was apparently spotted across from Eagle Pass, Texas. The second was found about three miles upriver, away from the floating buoys.
Steve McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS), pushed back against Mexico’s report, asserting that the first person had “drowned upstream from the marine barrier and floated into the buoys.”
He added in a statement, “There are personnel posted at the marine barrier at all times in case any migrants try to cross.”
The Department of Justice warned Abbott in late July that it intended to sue the state of Texas if the barriers are not removed.
“The State of Texas’s actions violate federal law, raise humanitarian concerns, present serious risks to public safety and the environment, and may interfere with the federal government’s ability to carry out its official duties,” DOJ wrote in a letter to Abbott.
The DOJ’s notification came after the revelation of an email shared with the media by Texas DPS in July, in which a state trooper accused the department of authorizing inhumane treatment of migrants attempting to cross the Texas-Mexico border. The email includes claims of migrants being cut by razor wire and orders to push families back into the Rio Grande, including children.
Texas DPS has denied ordering officers to push migrants into the water, claiming the “misinterpreted” directive was to verbally repel migrants by simply telling them to go to a port of entry and not cross illegally.
Abbott ordered the floating barriers and the concertina wire to be placed in the riverbank as part of his Operation Lone Star, a series of border security measures announced in 2021 that included sending state troopers and National Guard members to the Texas-Mexico border to deter or arrest migrants attempting to cross the Rio Grande.
The Texas governor responded to the DOJ’s threatened lawsuit in a letter to President Biden, saying, “Texas will fully utilize its constitutional authority to deal with the crisis you have caused.” He added, “Texas will see you in court, Mr. President.”