The Tragic Drowning of 3 Mexican Migrants in Eagle Pass, Texas: A Deepening Rift Between State and Federal Authorities

By Jan 16, 2024

The Tragic Drowning of 3 Mexican Migrants in Eagle Pass, Texas

The Tragic Drowning-Introduction:

The Tragic Drowning-The recent drowning deaths of a woman and two children near the US-Mexico border in Eagle Pass, Texas, have not only brought immense sorrow but have also intensified the ongoing dispute between Texas state officials and federal authorities over jurisdiction and the handling of the migrant crisis. This heartbreaking incident occurred shortly after state authorities blocked the US Border Patrol from accessing crucial areas along the border, raising questions about the role of restricted access in the tragic event. This article delves into the conflicting narratives provided by federal and Texas officials, shedding light on what is known and what remains uncertain.

The Tragic Drowning

The Tragic Drowning-Federal Officials’ Account:

The Tragic Drowning-According to Democratic US Rep. Henry Cuellar, Border Patrol received information about six distressed migrants in the Rio Grande around 9 p.m. CT on a Friday. Cuellar alleges that attempts to relay this information to the Texas Military Department, Texas National Guard, and Texas Department of Public Safety were unsuccessful. Border Patrol agents, then denied access to the blocked-off area near Shelby Park by state authorities, were physically barred from entering the region, leaving them unable to assist the distressed migrants. The bodies of the deceased, identified as Victerma de la Sancha Cerros (33), Yorlei Rubi (10), and Jonathan Agustín Briones de la Sancha (8), were later recovered by Mexican authorities.

The Tragic Drowning-The US Department of Homeland Security condemned Texas officials, stating that they cruelly and dangerously impeded Border Patrol agents from fulfilling their duties, resulting in the tragic loss of two children’s lives. US Rep. Joaquin Castro echoed these sentiments, accusing Texas of blocking crucial assistance and allowing the drownings to occur.

The Tragic Drowning-Texas Authorities’ Perspective:

The Tragic Drowning-In stark contrast, the Texas Military Department contends that, by the time Border Patrol agents requested access to the site, the drownings had already transpired, and Mexican authorities were already recovering the bodies. The Texas Military Department claims to have searched the river using lights and night vision goggles, finding no distressed migrants. Additionally, they reported Mexican authorities responding to an incident on the Mexican side of the riverbank, with no need for further assistance.

The Tragic Drowning-The Texas Military Department asserts that at no point did their security personnel observe distressed migrants, turn back any illegal immigrants, or become aware of bodies in the Shelby Park area. This version of events contradicts the federal narrative, leading to increased tension between state and federal authorities.

Mexico’s Response:

Mexico’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed condolences over the migrants’ deaths, with Beta Groups and the Mexican National Guard recovering the bodies from Mexico. The statement acknowledged that two other Mexicans were rescued. This external perspective further complicates the understanding of the events and highlights the multi-faceted nature of the incident.

Migrant Crisis and Increased Apprehensions:

The tragedy occurred in the midst of a resurgence in migrant apprehensions in the Del Rio Border Patrol Sector, with an influx of large groups crossing the Rio Grande through residential areas and locations west of Eagle Pass. Smugglers are exploiting geographical shifts, creating challenges for federal border authorities. The increase in apprehensions, especially near Eagle Pass, underscores the complexity of the ongoing crisis.

The Texas-Federal Government Rift:

Tensions between Texas and federal officials have been escalating, with the Biden Administration challenging Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s policies, including the use of razor wire and the criminalization of illegal entry into the state. The dispute reached the US Supreme Court, with Texas blocking Border Patrol access to the Shelby Park area, prompting federal intervention. The tragic incident further fueled the discord, with accusations of political stunts and cruelty from both sides.


The drownings of three Mexican migrants near Eagle Pass, Texas, have become a symbol of the deepening rift between Texas and federal authorities in addressing the ongoing migrant crisis. Conflicting narratives and accusations have clouded the understanding of the tragic event, emphasizing the urgent need for cooperation and resolution to prevent future humanitarian disasters. As investigations continue, the implications of this incident reverberate beyond the immediate tragedy, influencing the broader debate on immigration policies and jurisdictional disputes along the US-Mexico border.

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