City Cast

Why is the Texas-Mexico border in crisis?

Brooke Lewis
Posted on August 21
Eagle Pass, Texas border with Mexico.

Eagle Pass, Texas has been under scrutiny for incidents happening at the border. (Halbergman/Getty Images)

The Texas-Mexico border has made national headlines in recent weeks because of harsh treatment of migrants and buoy barriers in the Rio Grande. So, what’s actually happening there? Let me break it down for you.

The Texas-Mexico Border

Texas and Mexico share 1,254 miles of common border. People are able to cross the border a variety of ways through two dams, one ferry, and 25 other crossings. Mexico remains Texas’ number one trading partner. Besides migrants crossing the border, Texas and Mexico have traded goods using the border for many years.

Deny Water To Migrants

Last month, Nicholas Wingate, a Texas Department of Public Safety trooper and paramedic, shared harrowing incidents in an email he witnessed stationed in border town Eagle Pass, Texas. ln his email, he said that troopers were given orders to push children into the Rio Grande and deny water to migrants who are crossing the border. In the email, he said the state had put razor wire-wrapped barrels in parts of the Rio Grande with high water. He described migrants getting caught in the razor wire trying to cross, including a pregnant woman who was having a miscarriage, a four-year-old girl, and a teenager who had to be carried by his father. You can read his full email here.

The Buoy Barriers

Texas also installed buoys in the Rio Grande to prevent drownings from people crossing the border. The buoys have remained a point of controversy between the state and the federal government. Last month, the U.S. Department of Justice sued the state to force them to remove the buoys, claiming they violate laws regulating waterways. Earlier this month, two bodies were found in the Rio Grande, and one of them was stuck in the buoy barrier.

What’s Next?

A federal court hearing over the buoy barriers is set for Tuesday. If the judge orders the state to remove the barriers, then they must do so within ten days of the hearing. Members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus are pushing the Biden Administration to stop Texas troopers from separating migrant families from their fathers.

Cesar Espinosa, executive director at FIEL Houston, recently shared what migrants are facing at the border, how policy is impacting our immigration crisis, and how Houstonians can help. [City Cast Houston 🎧]

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