Two bodies were discovered in the Rio Grande and recovered by Mexican authorities on Wednesday. Migrants drowning while attempting to make the crossing into the United States is a common occurrence; what's new is that one of the bodies was caught in Texas Gov. Greg Abbott's razor-wire-covered string of buoys permanently anchored in the middle of the river, an obstacle intended to block refugees from making it from the Mexican side of the river to the Texas side. That body, so far identified only as a Honduran child, is the first to be discovered caught in the line of buoys itself.
Initial reports have conflicting details as to how the bodies were discovered, but the second victim was found several hours later and three miles upstream. Texas officials were quick to declare that neither body had anything to do with their new installation of mid-river buoys and lines of razor wire along the river's edge.
Mexican officials condemned the barrier's installment in two separate notes reporting that bodies were found in the Rio Grande. But Steve McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, said preliminary information indicates that the first person found dead had "drowned upstream from the marine barrier and floated into the buoys."
"There are personnel posted at the marine barrier at all times in case any migrants try to cross," McCraw said in a statement by the public safety department obtained by CBS News.
You can probably spot some holes in this defense. The string of buoys, anchored to the bottom of the river with netting to discourage migrants from attempting to swim underneath, lines the river at its midway point; it is parallel to the current. If a corpse was found caught amid the buoys then it was not merely "floating" there—it was snagged. That migrants would be snagged by the buoys and potentially drowned was precisely the scenario critics warned of and Texas officials implausibly claimed wouldn't happen. That the buoys were intended to force migrants to attempt more dangerous crossings, which would increase river deaths both upstream and downstream, was also predicted from the beginning.
Indeed, injuries have been escalating in the Eagle Pass area where Texas has built its buoy and razor wire traps, just as predicted.
Curiously, despite McCraw's statement that "personnel" are posted along the barrier at all times, apparently none of those personnel noted a corpse floating down the river and into the buoys they were supposed to be monitoring. The body was found only after it had become snagged, and we don't know how long the body was there before it was discovered.
That apparent delay in finding the body doesn’t suggest that Texas has enough "personnel posted" to monitor, much less speedily rescue, migrants snagged by the buoy traps. And that's noteworthy because the Texas border traps aren't just acting as dangerous obstacles to already-desperate migrants, but preventing federal Border Patrol agents from accessing parts of the river and attempting rescues of swimmers in distress.
There's no solid evidence yet for the state official’s declaration that the first body found caught in Abbott's mid-river buoy trap was that of a child who drowned elsewhere but only by happenstance ended up snagged against the buoys. It might be true; it might not be true. The Texas government has a history of lying its ass off about everything pertaining to the buoys, insisting despite all evidence that the "deterrent" will not increase deaths. The federal government is suing Texas for the removal of the traps, which are illegal both by treaty and by U.S. law, but Abbott has vowed to keep them in place.
He's not just risking the lives of migrants. Emergency responders on the U.S. side of the border will, sooner or later, be snagged in the same underwater or reed-hidden razor wire that's injuring immigrants, and when that happens the Texas Department of Public Safety will be hard-pressed to cobble together one of its typically sneering defenses.
As Texas deploys deadly river trap, border guards ordered to push children ‘back’ into river
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Justice Department orders Texas to remove deadly—and illegal—Rio Grande traps
Conservatives cried about how the “woke” (whatever that means) “Barbie” movie would fail. It didn’t. In fact, the film has struck a chord with American and international audiences. Daily Kos writer Laura Clawson joins Markos to talk about the film and the implications of the Republican Party’s fixation on mythical culture wars, which is failing them in bigger and bigger ways every day.