ASISTA Condemns Horrific, Inhumane Treatment of Migrants in Texas (July 19, 2023)


Contact: Kirsten Rambo,

ASISTA Condemns Horrific, Inhumane Treatment of Migrants in Texas

As documented by the Houston Chronicle and other outlets such as The Guardian and CNN, a trooper-medic with the Texas Department of Public Safety expressed concern to his supervisor earlier this month about the inhumane ways that staff there are being ordered to treat migrants, including pushing people back into the river and refusing drinking water.

The medic also detailed some of the horrifying effects of Texas’s anti-immigrant practices, including the following from just one 7-hour period, as quoted directly here in italics from the CNN report:

  • A 4-year-old girl passed out in 100-degree heat after Texas (National) Guard personnel pushed the group she was in back toward Mexico
  • A man with a significant laceration on his leg, suffered when he tried to rescue his child from razor wire placed on a deterrence buoy in the Rio Grande
  • A 15-year-old boy with a broken leg, suffered when he tried to cross a more dangerous part of the river away from the buoys
  • A 19-year-old woman trapped in the wire having a miscarriage

The following day saw the drowning deaths of a mother and two children who were attempting to cross a part of the river that did not contain wire. The medics were also ordered to push a group of people that included nursing babies and young children, who were found in 108-degree weather in the shade, back to the river toward Mexico. Recognizing that these details have emerged from just one report covering only one week, it is difficult to imagine–and almost impossible to know–how many more horrific incidents like these have not been exposed.

The active attempts to harm immigrants employed by Gov. Greg Abbott and his administration shock the conscience and deny the most basic human rights to people seeking refuge. This sadistic targeting of vulnerable people is a disgrace to our nation and must end immediately. 

“At ASISTA, we hear every day about the multiple forms of trauma experienced by immigrant survivors, often forcing people to flee their homeland,” notes Executive Director, Dr. Kirsten Rambo. “To make the dangerous journey to the US seeking safety and dignity for yourself and your family–only to be met with intentional brutality meant to endanger or end your life and that of your children–is sickening and unconscionable.”

We at ASISTA condemn these acts of state violence in the strongest possible terms, and we urge the Biden administration to use every means at its disposal to end these craven, violent practices. And we urge all people of good conscience to join us in denouncing this monstrous cruelty. 

Established in 2008, ASISTA is a national leader in the movement for safety and justice for immigrant survivors of gender-based violence. ASISTA’s founders helped write the immigration provisions of the federal Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and Victims of Trafficking and Violence Prevention Act (TVPA), affording legal status to hundreds of thousands of survivors and their children since 1994. With over 2,500 members nationwide, ASISTA’s work is focused on 1) providing expert case consultation, training, and resources to attorneys and advocates navigating the complex immigration system on behalf of survivors of gender-based violence, including intervening in specific cases as needed; 2) pushing for federal, state and local policies that ensure safety and justice for immigrant survivors; and 3) coordinating lawsuits to prevent the government from unfairly deporting survivors of violence. To learn more about ASISTA’s work, click here. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, & LinkedIn.



1.  “Exclusive: Texas troopers told to push children into Rio Grande, deny water to migrants, records say,” Houston Chronicle, July 17, 2023.

2.  “Texas trooper says they were told to push children into Rio Grande and deny migrants water,” The Guardian, July 18, 2023.

3.  “Texas troopers told to push back migrants into Rio Grande and ordered not to give water amid soaring temperatures, report says,” CNN, July 18, 2023.