Two migrant children and their mother drowned Jan. 12 while trying to cross from Mexico into the United States, after Texas authorities prevented US Border Patrol agents from reaching the victims to render life-saving aid, charged US Rep. Henry Cuellar, who represents a district on the border. The US Department of Homeland Security said the three migrants drowned near Shelby Park in the border town of Eagle Pass after Texas Guardsmen "physically barred" Border Patrol agents from entering the area. Mexican officials recovered the bodies the next morning on their side of the Rio Grande, in Piedras Negras.
US District Judge Alia Moses of the Western District of Texas on Oct. 30 granted a temporary restraining order enjoining the federal government from interfering with fencing erected by Texas state authorities at the US-Mexico border. As part of Operation Lone Star, the Texas Military Department has deployed concertina wire fencing to deter illegal crossings at the border. The suit, brought by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, alleged that since Sept. 20, federal agents have implemented a policy of destroying the state-erected fencing. The complaint links to several videos posted on X, which purport to show federal agents cutting or lifting the fencing, and providing support to those attempting to cross after swimming the Rio Grande. The complaint alleged that from Sept. 21 to Sept. 28, federal agents allowed at least 400 migrants through.
The US government announced Oct. 16 that it will settle a 2018 class-action lawsuit that challenged the Trump administration's family separation practice at the US-Mexico border. The proposed settlement would create a process to reunify families who were separated. Additionally, the government is to provide health services and housing support for affected families, and arrange legal services through the Executive Office for Immigration Review. Attorney General Merrick Garland stated, "This agreement will facilitate the reunification of separated families and provide them with critical services to aid in their recovery."
The Biden administration announced Oct. 4 that it has waived 26 federal laws in an area of South Texas by executive order to allow border wall construction—a tactic often used during the Trump presidency. The Department of Homeland Security posted the waiver on the Federal Registry, affecting a "high illegal entry" sector in Starr County, Tex. According to government data, about 245,000 illegal entries have been recorded in this sector during the current fiscal year. The Clean Air Act, Safe Drinking Water Act and Endangered Species Act are among the laws suspended by the order.
Mexican authorities confirmed Aug. 3 that they recovered two bodies from the Rio Grande near the border town of Piedras Negras, Coahuila state. Authorities recovered one of the bodies, a Mexican national, from buoys recently floated by Texas in an effort to impede border crossings from Mexico. The second body, that of a Honduran national, was recovered further upstream, away from the buoys. The incidents have renewed attention on the floating barrier, which is now the subject of a lawsuit between the US Department of Justice (DoJ) and the state of Texas.
Demonstrators gathered across Florida June 1 to protest a recently enacted law that imposes harsh restrictions on undocumented immigrants. In what protesters dubbed "a day without immigrants," thousands walked off the job to express their opposition to Gov. Ron DeSantis' approval of Senate Bill 1718.
In Immokalee, dozens of businesses closed in support of the protest, and video captured over 6,000 protesters marching in support of immigrant workers and their rights. Similar protests took place in Orlando, Tampa, Jacksonville, Vero Beach, Fort Myers and Homestead, among other locations.
President Joe Biden is temporarily deploying 1,500 soldiers to the US-Mexico border ahead of the end of a pandemic-era entry restriction known as Title 42 on May 11. The soldiers are to perform administrative tasks, but critics say the move sends the message that migration is a threat. Tens of thousands of asylum seekers and migrants currently stranded in dire conditions in northern Mexican border cities by US policies are growing increasingly desperate and frustrated. More than 15,000 people—mostly from Venezuela—crossed the border in the vicinity of Brownsville late last month, overwhelming shelter capacity. And in El Paso, nearly 2,000 people who recently crossed the border are sleeping on sidewalks in the city center. The Biden administration has introduced a number of policies aimed at extending asylum restrictions at the border and curbing migration. The administration reached a deal with Mexico on May 2 that for the first time allows the US to deport non-Mexicans who enter the country irregularly back across the border.
Four environmental advocacy groups and one Native American people on May 1 sued the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), alleging the agency failed to undertake a thorough environmental impact analysis after a SpaceX rocket exploded in Boca Chica, Texas, last month. The complaint alleges the FAA violated the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) which requires federal agencies to examine and consider environmental effects before granting licenses or allowing federal projects. Specifically, the plaintiffs claim the FAA allowed SpaceX to launch its rocket without "fully analyzing the significant environment and community impacts" of the launch, including damage to the region's wild bird habitat, and without requiring the company to pursue mitigation efforts to offset this habitat disruption.