Authorities have halted the search for a missing Texas Army National Guard soldier hours after the soldier, who was assigned to border operations, went missing along the Rio River. Grande, The Texas Department of the Army said.
A statement said strong currents had forced search efforts to stop overnight and the soldier’s relatives were being notified. Diving can resume on Saturday.
Maverick County Sheriff Tom Schmerber said hunters were trying to rescue a migrant who was struggling underwater.
“He jumped into the river, they never saw him out,” Schmerber said.
Schmerber, whose department was soon involved in the search, said the woman passed and was detained by the Border Patrol.
Strong currents created dangerous conditions for people trying to cross the Rio Grande this month, according to US Customs and Border Protection. Earlier this month, a Border Patrol Marine Unit rescued a number of people who had been “washed away” by strong currents, agency said.
Rescues often occur on rivers, and attempting to cross the border can be deadly. Schmerber said it is very common to find the bodies of migrants along a stretch of the river in his county.
The special forces soldier assigned to Operation Lone Star, Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s controversial immigration enforcement mission.
The Texas governor’s office is working with the Texas National Guard as they search for the missing soldier, Abbott said on Twitter Friday afternoon.
Friday’s incident comes nearly a year after increased border enforcement along the Rio Grande as part of Operation Lone Star.
When Operation Lone Star launched in March 2021, Abbott said, “We will increase the resources and law enforcement personnel needed to confront this crisis,” blaming the Biden administration. policies that he says have invited illegal immigration and disrupted borders in a growing humanitarian crisis. .
The focus of Operation Lone Star is the capture and detention of border crossers. The effort has been strongly criticized for militarizing the border and interfering with immigration enforcement, a federal responsibility.
The guards themselves also complained about bad conditions in their questincluding major COVID-19 outbreaks.
Contributors: Tony Plohetski, Chuck Lindell and Katie Hall, Austin American-Statesman; Related press