Texas Office of the Inspector General launching investigation into alleged mistreatment of migrants

With one state agency investigating another, there are questions about transparency and impartiality

EAGLE PASS, Texas – The Texas Office of the Inspector General is launching an investigation into alleged mistreatment of migrants at the border.

The investigation comes after a state trooper emailed a superior making those claims. In an email, the trooper who worked in Eagle Pass claimed that an officer in command issued orders to push adults and children -- some of them infants -- back into the Rio Grande River once they reached the U.S. side.

It’s one of several concerns in the trooper’s email that both the Department of Public Safety and the State Inspector General’s Office are now looking into.

“In terms of people that they are investigating or at least questioning, will be the troopers that are actually serving in the border right now. It may also be their superiors who are giving orders and whether or not to follow through on those orders properly,” said Jon Taylor, Professor and Chair of the Department of Political Science and Geography, UTSA.

Taylor believes the OIG is now involved in this case because of the Texas Whistleblower Act, a state law that protects public employees who report suspected violations.

However, with one state agency investigating another, there are questions about transparency and impartiality.

“There is a trust factor here after what happened in Uvalde last year and the fact that the DPS appeared to drag its feet and changed its story several times,” said Taylor.

Allegations of mistreatment may be just the tip of the iceberg, as the U.S. State Department confirmed Texas did not consult with the U.S. federal government before installing buoys in the Rio Grande. They have yet to respond to KSATs requests for more information.

“They’re also in violation of international treaties and, of course, with Mexico, the United States aside. Additionally, there are questions about human rights abuses, that now all of a sudden, you’re talking about the United Nations and other bodies being interested,” said Taylor.

Some state and federal lawmakers have called on the U.S. Department of Justice to get involved.

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre also commented on the reports of alleged migrant mistreatment.

About the Authors

Jonathan Cotto is a reporter for KSAT’s Good Morning San Antonio. He’s a bilingual award-winning news reporter and he joined KSAT in 2021. Before coming to San Antonio, Cotto was reporting along the U.S.-Mexico border in South Texas. He’s a veteran of the United States Navy.

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