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US border guard shoots, injures migrant in Texas

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Barbed wire placed by US border guards is seen near the US-Mexico border along the Rio Grande river in Texas in an effort to prevent the entry of migrants into the country./AFP
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Jan 23, 2023 - 01:23 AM

HOUSTON, UNITED STATES — A US border guard shot and injured a migrant trying to escape immigration authorities in Texas this week, local media and officials said Friday.

The man, whose injuries were not life-threatening, was shot in the left shoulder by a member of the Texas National Guard Monday near the city of McAllen, law enforcement and the Texas Tribune and Military Times said, citing internal documents from the Texas Military Department.

According to the joint report from the newspapers, border agents found four migrants in an abandoned house before dawn. As three of them surrendered, the fourth tried to escape through a window, when he was shot by the National Guard soldier.

The injured man, whose nationality has not been revealed, was taken to be treated at a local hospital, the outlets reported.

“The Texas Rangers are investigating the incident,” a spokesperson from the Texas Department of Public Safety told AFP Friday.

According to a statement from Customs and Border Protection, “US Border Patrol agents assigned to Rio Grande Valley were present along with Texas National Guard and Texas Department of Public Safety during a shots fired incident at Abram, Texas” early Monday morning.

“One individual was reported injured.”

The soldier who fired the shot was stationed near the US-Mexico border as part of Operation Lone Star, a 2021 program launched by Texas Governor Greg Abbott in which more than 5,000 National Guard troops were sent to the Rio Grande Valley to help manage the influx of Central American migrants and others into the United States.

US authorities counted 2.3 million migrant arrests and deportations in fiscal year 2022 alone, five times more than in 2020.

The increase is partly a result of Title 42, the controversial pandemic-era rule that blocks unauthorized people from entering the United States, ostensibly in an effort to control the spread of Covid-19.

Thousands of people, unable to enter the country, have become stuck in Mexican border towns awaiting the chance to make their case for asylum.

Washington has made exceptions to allow the entry of migrants from countries such as Cuba, Nicaragua, Venezuela and Haiti under certain circumstances.

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