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The unnecessary death of a mother and her two children

By José López Zamorano

For the Hispanic Network

One can only imagine the desperation of that mother who jumped, with her two children, into the icy waters of the Rio Grande to cross into the United States. The three were Mexicans and they left their country, surely, in search of their American dream.

Instead, all three found disdain and death. They drowned without any authority lifting a finger to save their lives.

After the death of the mother and her two children – their identities remain anonymous at the time of writing this column – mutual accusations broke out between the Texas National Guard and the Border Patrol, which depends on the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

Border Patrol officials learned around 9 p.m. on Friday, January 12, of an emergency report to rescue the family. They immediately asked for access to Shelby Park, in Eagle Pass.

The 47-acre park is under the control of the Texas National Guard by order of Governor Gregg Abbot. Access was denied, according to the version of Democratic Congressman Henry Cuellar.

In contrast, the Texas Military Department (TMD) called reports that it prevented the Border Patrol from saving the lives of drowning migrants “totally inaccurate.” “At the time the Border Patrol requested access.

The drownings had already occurred, the Mexican authorities were recovering the bodies and the Border Patrol communicated these events to the TMD personnel at the scene,” he indicated.

The White House maintained that the incident was the governor's responsibility. “Gregg Abbott's political tricks are inhumane and cruel. “The Border Patrol must have access to the border to enforce our laws,” he said.

For now, the Department of Justice asked the Supreme Court to intervene to regain its access to a 2.5-mile stretch of the Rio Grande in Eagle Pass, which includes Shelby Park, where elements of the Texas National Guard established a perimeter of barbed wire and fencing to close access to the public indefinitely.

Even if the version of the Texas National Guard is credible, Governor Abbott cannot avoid his responsibility or the consequences of his radical actions.

His decision to take control of the Texas-Mexico border, as well as block access to the Border Patrol, erect barbed wire and place buoys on the Rio Grande, has an unmistakable message for migrants: You are not welcome in the United States and if you suffer a humanitarian emergency, you will not be rescued.

Once again, the Supreme Court has the duty to restore the rule of law at the border. The United States has humanitarian responsibilities under federal law and under its international commitments. Allowing Abbott to run Texas as if it were a country separate from the American Union and trample on the country's legal and moral obligations will only contribute to immigration chaos at the border.

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