The border crisis that erupted during President Joe Biden’s presidency contributed to the poor response to the tragic mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas, a new report from Texas officials says.
According to an investigation by state lawmakers, the lax security situation at Robb Elementary School — where 19 children and two teachers were killed by a gunman — was caused in part by a high frequency of “security alerts and campus lockdowns” resulting from a rise in “bailouts.” In border communities, the term “bailout” refers to when a human trafficker will try to outrun authorities. These chases usually end in a car accident, and with passengers fleeing.
“The frequency of these ‘bailout’-related alarms—around 50 of them between February and May of 2022—contributed to a diminished sense of vigilance about responding to security alerts,” the lawmakers’ report said.
Furthermore, state lawmakers found that security alerts at that particular school were triggered often because of its proximity to the intersection of Highway 83 and Highway 90. Only an hour west of the area is the Del Rio Sector of the U.S.- Mexico border, which has seen multiple large illegal border crossings.
“Numerous witnesses testified to the Committee that there has been an increase in bailout activity over the past 18 months,” the report said. “Uvalde CISD Director of Student Services Kenneth Mueller testified that since February 2021, high-speed chases have been a daily event in the Uvalde area, causing Uvalde CISD schools to be secured or locked down frequently, with 47 ‘secure’ or ‘lockdown’ events happening since late February 2022, and approximately 90% of those being attributed to bailouts.
The report said that the alert system “does not differentiate its signals between bailouts and other kinds of alerts, such as an active shooter situation” and that school faculty responded to the alerts “with less urgency” because of how often they were occurring. As such, many at the school assumed the alert that went out right before the shooting was a bailout.
Just a week before the Uvalde mass shooting, the U.S. Border Patrol apprehended six groups of at least 100 illegal immigrants within a 36-hour period. Customs and Border Patrol reported that since October 2021, Del Rio Sector agents have seen a major increase in crossings, encountering over 236,000 illegal immigrants.
The state lawmakers’ report comes amidst continued criticism of the emergency response to the shooting.
Law enforcement officers who arrived on the scene within minutes at Robb Elementary during the shooting proceeded to wait outside the classroom the gunman occupied for over an hour, even as some of the victims were still alive, calling for help from inside.