A Texas National Guardsman is missing after attempting to rescue a migrant in the Rio Grande River on Friday.
The Maverick County Sheriff said later Friday afternoon that the migrant, a woman, was pulled from the river alive. The agent remains missing after six hours, according to Fox News reporter Bill Melugin. Earlier reports said that the soldier had drowned, though his body has not been recovered.
The guardsman jumped into the river just before 10 a.m. on Friday morning to save a drowning migrant, according to documents obtained by Military Times and The Star Tribune. Witnesses never saw the guardsman resurface after he removed his body armor and jumped into the river. Search efforts began with helicopters and boats shortly after the incident.
In the wake of the incident, some units have banned soldiers from entering the water without floatation devices and others have banned personnel from entering water at all, two sources told the Tribune.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R) ordered an overhaul of his state’s approach to border security on April 6 in preparation for the Biden administration axing enforcement of Title 42, a Trump-era policy that authorized the U.S. Border Patrol to turn away migrants at the southern border for COVID-19. The federal government has expected a surge in migration after the policy times out in late May.
In an April 6 press conference, Abbott announced that Texas would begin bussing migrants to Washington, D.C., in response to President Joe Biden dropping Title 42. Abbott also announced that Texas law enforcement would revamp its vetting procedures for vehicles crossing the southern border into the United States. The governor said new, more thorough searches were necessary to stem the flow of drugs coming into the U.S. from Mexico.
Abbott dropped the order for enhanced inspections after reaching deals with the governors of the Mexican states of Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo León and Tamaulipas on measures they will take on the Mexico side of the border. Abbott’s order was in place for over a week and caused severe traffic delays coming from Mexico into the U.S.
On Friday, Abbott announced that the 10th busload of illegal migrants had arrived in Washington, D.C., under his April 6 order.
“Thanks to the State of Texas, President Biden will be able to immediately meet the needs of migrants he is allowing to cross our border by busing them to his backyard,” Abbott said in a statement. “The Biden Administration’s failed efforts to secure the border are appalling. By busing migrants to Washington, D.C., Texas is sending a clear message: we should not have to bear the burden of the federal government’s inaction to secure the border, and the Lone Star State will do whatever it takes to keep Texans safe.”
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