According to an email released by the Texas newspaper ‘Houston Chronicle’, the border police of the state governed by Republican Greg Abott would have the order to “push back into the water” groups of migrants who wanted to enter US territory. The president of Mexico mentioned that, if this information is true, it would be “outrageous”; and the White House, for its part, assured that it is a matter of investigation.
The emails are from Nicholas Wingate, a Texas border agent, who would have contacted his supervisor by email to tell him that, on June 25, Wingate and another colleague had met a group of more than 100 migrants – among them children and mothers with babies in their arms – when they received the order to “push” the migrants into the Rio Grande to return to Mexican territory. It is still unclear who the alleged order came from.
The activities described by Wingate would be part of ‘Operation Lone Star’, promoted by the Abott government and which includes the relocation of migrants from Texan soil to Democratic states and the recent construction of a “floating barrier” in the Rio Grande, with the objective of preventing the movement of people in the place.
The leaked emails are worrying both state authorities and higher-ups in Washington. White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said House Democrats plan to investigate the veracity of Wingate’s descriptions, which, if true, would be “abhorrent.”
“We are talking about the fundamental values of what we are as a country and the human indecency that we are seeing (…) If this is true, it is completely wrong,” Jean-Pierre said at a press conference on June 18.
On the other hand, Greg Abott’s office issued a statement on Tuesday denying having implemented measures of this nature, although it did not refer to the Nicholas Wingate emails or announce any investigation into it.
“An outrage, inhumane, would be extermination”: The reaction of Andrés Manuel López Obrador
In his morning press conference on July 19, the Mexican president was questioned by the local press on the subject, to which López Obrador replied that he “does not believe” that what Wingate described could be true, since otherwise , it would be “inhuman”.
However, the president did criticize other measures that the border police take against migrants to northern Mexico. Situations such as not offering them water despite the extreme heat in the area or the persecution of migrants by agents.
“This is possible, that migrants are not given water, that they are even persecuted, at one time they even hunted down migrants, tremendous, because they fomented this hatred of migrants, which is what they continue to do, that’s why about the orange buoys and wire fences,” said the president, also referring to the construction of the “floating border” by the Texan government.
More criticism of the US Border Patrol
In addition to the descriptions registered in the emails disseminated by the ‘Houston Chronicle’, a report published by an independent agency on July 18 indicates that United States border agents “do not have the appropriate protocols” to help minors with pre-existing diseases.
This came to light after the death of an 8-year-old girl from Panama on May 17, 2013, who was in the custody of the United States Customs and Border Protection office. The investigation was ordered by the internal authorities of this government body and concluded that the death of the minor was the result of “failures in the medical and child custody systems.” Also, that her death was “preventable.”
The tensions on the border between Mexico and the United States worry all the actors involved in the situation, which will be a central issue in the US presidential elections next year.
With AP, EFE and local media