U.S. border officials say an investigation is already underway after a Texas National Guard member deployed to the southern border region under Greg Abbott’s lawless Operation Lone Star stunt shot an unarmed migrant in the arm this past weekend.
“It’s the first known incident since the mission began in which a soldier has shot and injured a migrant,” The Texas Tribune reports.
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The Texas Tribune reported said the soldier, identified by an internal Texas Military Department document as Spc. Angel Gallegos, shot the migrant while patrolling the region with Border Patrol. The document claims the group encountered a number of migrants who were hiding in an abandoned house, and that the soldier fired his weapon when one of the migrants allegedly wrestled him to the ground while hitting him.
That’s just seems suspicious, in my opinion. It just seems unlikely that an unarmed migrant would tackle an armed soldier (who was also accompanied by a number of other armed agents). But what makes me question the claim is that I know Border Patrol’s history, and this is an agency that has a history of lying about shootings, like in the tragic case of Claudia Patricia Gómez González. The indigenous woman was shot in the head by a border agent in 2018. The agency initially lied about her killing, claiming she’d ambushed an agent with “blunt objects.” But that wasn’t true.
While the unidentified migrant’s injury is thankfully not life-threatening, it should never have happened in the first place. Federal immigration enforcement is the job of the federal government, but Abbott has for nearly two years carried out this illegal and deadly stunt (it’s broken state law over and over again while state vehicle chases have claimed the lives of bystanders) to boost both his anti-immigrant credentials and political aspirations.
Abbott’s already spent billions in taxpayer fund on this operation, but he still wants more (2024 is coming right up, after all). Just this month, he was crying to reporters that Texas “desperately needs more money.” Or is it his megadonors who “desperately” need more money? Texas Observer reported last fall that a “longtime venture capitalist” and donor is also the recipient of hundreds of millions of dollars in border and pandemic contracts. What a coincidence!
There appear to be dual probes, by the Department of Public Safety and Customs and Border Protection's Office of Professional Responsibility, into the unarmed migrant’s shooting. It’s essential that the unarmed migrant not be deported throughout these investigations, either. While the report said a Texas Ranger did an “initial interview” with the soldier, its unclear if the migrant was interviewed. We also know migrant victims have a history of being erased from official probes.
Rep. Veronica Escobar said Abbott’s “reckless and political” deployment of soldiers where they don’t belong “makes an already challenging situation potentially dangerous.”
“Maintaining this deployment will only lead to similar incidents or even worse—ones which could prove to be fatal,” the El Paso lawmaker said in a statement reported by The Texas Tribune. “I expect a full, thorough and transparent investigation.”
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