A member of the Texas National Guard drowned while trying to rescue a migrant on the U.S. – Mexico border. Multiple sources and the Texas Department of Public Safety confirmed the incident to Fox News on Friday.
Lt. Christopher Olivarez of the state’s Department of Public Safety said the Texas National Guard member was part of the border security initiative Operation Lone Star, which was ordered by Governor Greg Abbott. Olivarez said the guardsman was carried away by the current during the rescue attempt near Eagle Pass, which is located about 140 miles southwest of San Antonio.
It is unclear how many migrants needed help in the Rio Grande River when the rescue mission was launched. Video footage shared by the Daily Caller last week showed several migrants being swept away by the Rio Grande, reportedly calling out for help.
The loss of a Texas National Guard soldier comes as illegal border crossings continue to surge past record highs. More than 221,000 illegal migrants crossed or attempted to cross into the United States in March, a record for Biden’s presidency. The previous record was set last July, when 213,593 encounters were reported.
Last month’s record setting numbers represented a massive spike from February, when Border Patrol reported 164,793 encounters.
Border officials are bracing for an unprecedented surge in illegal immigrant encounters as the Biden Administration is set to lift Title 42, which has allowed border officials to quickly expel migrants without hearing asylum claims due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Title 42 is set to be lifted on May 23.