Texas National Guard soldier shoots, injures migrant while on patrol along US-Mexico border
Stars and Stripes January 20, 2023
AUSTIN, Texas — A migrant was shot this week by a Texas National Guard member as the soldier patrolled along U.S.-Mexico border, according to state and federal law enforcement officials.
The incident occurred at about 4:12 a.m. Sunday, Jan. 15, in Abram, Texas, according to Rod Kise, spokesman for U.S. Customs and Border Protection. The small town of about 2,000 people is located along Rio Grande in a region known as the Rio Grande Valley.
At the time of the incident, Border Patrol agents assigned to Rio Grande Valley were present along with members of the Texas National Guard and Texas Department of Public Safety, Kise said. One migrant was injured and released from a hospital the same day, he said.
A state police agency, the Texas Rangers, is leading the investigation, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety. Customs and Border Protection’s Office of Professional Responsibility is also reviewing the incident.
Texas National Guard officials declined to answer questions about the nature of the incident or whether the soldier has remained on duty in the days following the shooting.
The soldier was deployed as part of a nearly 2-year-old state mission known as Operation Lone Star, in which Guard members are partnered with state police to deter criminal activity between legal ports-of-entry along the Texas border with Mexico.
The use-of-force policy for troops serving at the border allows for them to use the minimum force necessary for self-defense or in defense of others, according to a review of Operation Lone Star training materials provided to troops last year.
In January 2022, a soldier fired an M4 rifle while on patrol, but no one was injured, according to incident reports released by the Texas Military Department. That same month, a service member was kicked in the face by a migrant, according to the reports. In response, the service members aimed a weapon at the migrant, but did not fire.