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The Texas National Guard has called off for the night the search for a soldier believed to have drowned in the Rio Grande while trying to save a migrant woman he thought was in trouble.
The Texas Military Department said that it is hopeful the search will resume on Saturday.
‘We will continue the search for our Soldier until we have exhausted all possible resources. We are in the process of notifying the next of kin regarding the missing Soldier,’ the statement reads.
‘He dove in to get her, and he never came back up,’ Maverick County Sheriff Tom Schmerber told DailyMail.com Friday of the fate of the trooper, who reportedly jumped into a portion of the river in Eagle Pass, Texas – a border town 143 miles southwest of San Antonio – in an attempt to save the woman around 8:30 am CT.
The sheriff revealed that the Guardsman, who has yet to be identified, entered the water when he noticed a group of migrants attempting to cross the river and a female member of the group that appeared to be in distress. Texas State Police have since said that the soldier drowned, with a recovery effort ongoing.
According to Schmerber, who was called to the scene more than an hour after the soldier failed to resurface, the trooper immediately dove into the area of river near Eagle Pass International Bridge in an attempt to rescue her.
‘That area of the river is very dangerous this time of year,’ the lawman told DailyMail.com roughly three-and-half hours after the incident. ‘Very strong tides and currents. He did not resurface.’
According to the Texas Military Department, the unidentified soldier has not yet been found.
A Texas National Guard soldier is now missing after trying to save a migrant woman crossing the border over the Rio Grande, it has been reported. Pictured are Military Department and Border Patrol officials at the scene in Texas Friday at 11:13 am CT, less than two hours after the trooper went into the water. The soldier has yet to be located
The missing Guardsman reportedly jumped into a portion of the river in Eagle Pass – a border town 143 miles southwest of San Antonio – in an attempt to save the woman at 8:30 am CT
Deputies recovered a walkie talkie and body armor belonging to the soldier Friday afternoon, more than two hours after he went into the water, Schmerber said.
Earlier reports stated that the soldier had drowned in the river – however, the Texas National Guard told DailyMail.com Friday afternoon that he went missing during a mission-related incident.
Sheriff Schmerber told DailyMail.com that it was unlikely the officer was still alive.
‘After more than three hours, it is very doubtful,’ Schmerber said, roughly five hours after the soldier disappeared under the river’s tides.
Schmerber also revealed that the migrant, who the lawman said was swimming across the river from with several others when the Guardman jumped into action, was not actually drowning, and only appeared to be struggling with the strong current.
‘She successfully made it to the US side of the river herself, where she was taken into Border Patrol custody,’ where she remained Friday afternoon, Schmerber said.
The rest of her group, the sheriff revealed, were sent by border officials back to Mexico.
Meanwhile, officials continue to comb the stretch of river in Eagle Pass to locate the missing Guardsman.
The military department said Friday afternoon that they are working with the Texas Department of Public Safety and Border Patrol agents to track down the trooper.
The area serves as a common crossing point for migrants entering the country from Mexico.
Officials from the Military Department, Texas Department of Public Safety, and Border Patrol are currently combing the river to track down the trooper, who was still missing more than three hours after the attempted rescue
It is not yet clear how many migrants the soldier was attempting to save. Pictured is the Rio Grande in Eagle Pass in 2019. Border patrol vehicles can be seen on the US side of the river, which serves as a common crossing point for migrants crossing from Mexico
The chaotic rescue attempt comes as the Biden Administration continues to struggle with the US’ escalating border crisis, which has seen a record 221,303 migrants apprehended by border officials last month – 55,409 more than the month prior.
The number eclipsed a previous record set in July 2021, where US Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) apprehended 213,593 migrants.
Illegal immigration has soared since Joe Biden assumed office early last year, with more 1 million migrant encounters recorded in the first half of Fiscal Year 2022, according to the CBP – a pace that would see the US record a record 2 million encounters by the end of the fiscal year.
Since October 1, 2021 – the start of fiscal year 2022 – border officers have recorded 1,060,954 incidents with migrants. CBP documented 164,847 interdictions in October; 174,846 in November; and closed out December with 179,252 incidents.
CBP documented 164,847 interdictions in October; 174,846 in November; and closed out December with 179,252 incidents.
Encounters tailed off in January when 154,812 were reported before spiking up to 165,894 in February.
Las year’s fiscal year saw a still-marked 1,734,686 interdictions – a number that’s expected to rise, when the president repeals Trump-era policy Title 42, a law designed to immediately expel migrants to protect the US from COVID, early next month.
The looming policy shift has sparked fears that a further 500,000 migrants a month could begin making the sometimes perilous crossing, often through the raging Rio Grande, which covers a sprawling 1,255 mile segment of the US-Mexico border.
U.S. Border Patrol agents encountered 187 migrants after they illegally crossed the border with Mexico near Eagle Pass, Texas, on March 27. A reported released by U.S. Customs and Border Protection on Monday revealed there were 221,303 encounters with migrants in all of March
Title 42 is lifted next month. Pictured: Customs and Border Protection agents struggle with an asylum seeker from Russia in El Paso, Texas on April 14, 2022
Last month reached a new high of illegal immigrant crossing with CBP encountering 221,303 migrants. It was a new high from July of 2021, when apprehensions reached 213,593
When Title 42 does end, reports indicate that there are somewhere around 170,000 migrants waiting on the Mexican side of the border and prepared to immediately head towards the US to claim asylum.
Two sources familiar with planning told CNN Biden’s administration is preparing to offer vaccines to migrants taken into custody at the U.S.-Mexico border as warnings of an influx mount.
A report earlier this month showed that at least 5,000 migrants are prepared to immediately – and illegally – cross into the US once the Trump-era coronavirus provision ends.
President Biden’s office has not yet commented on the Guardsman’s disappearance.
The oldest-ever head of state has seen his approval numbers plummet to record lows in recent months, following a chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan last year, rising consumer and gas prices, record rates of inflation, and, of course, an influx of migrants at the country’s Southern border.
The latest Gallup survey released Friday revealed that only 41 percent of US adults approve of the job Biden is doing after a year in office, confirming previous surveys that depicted the president’s less than favorable approval rate.
Fifty-six percent of those surveyed in the Gallup poll said they disapprove of Biden’s performance as president – a stark about-face from the 57 percent approval rate the president boasted upon entering office in January 2021.
Gallup noted that Biden’s current average approval rating is lower than all previous presidents in the post World War II-era – sans President Trump, who garnered just 39.1 percent favorability during his first year in office.
Source: Daily Mail