Bishop E. Evans, a 22-year-old from Arlington, Texas, was identified as the missing Texas National Guardsman who dove into the Rio Grande on the Texas-Mexico border to save two immigrants on Friday.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott tweeted a photo of Evans, who’s been a guard member since 2019.
The Texas Military Department also revealed that the two migrants involved were crossing the river into the US “illegally” and were a part of “illicit transnational narcotics trafficking.”
They remained in custody as of Saturday.
“Texas National Guard Specialist Bishop Evans is a hero who risked his life in service to Texas & America. Law enforcement & rescue teams continue a relentless search for him. Join us in prayer for a successful recovery,” Abbott wrote.
Bishop is believed to have drowned, swept away by the dangerous currents of the Rio Grande as he tried to save two migrants who appeared to be drowning.
The search to recover his body stalled over the weekend as dive teams from the Border Patrol and other agencies suspended their operations after the Rio Grande became too swift for even them.
The Texas Military Department described Evans actions as “selfless.”
Evans was part of Operation Lone Star, an initiative by the Texas governor to station Texas soldiers on the border to address illegal immigration.
The program has long been criticized by lawyers and even guardsmen, who called the operation a disaster due to lack of a clear mission and deplorable living conditions for soldiers, according to the Texas Tribune.
Two guardsmen, who spoke on condition of anonymity to the outlet, said some commanders in the Eagle Pass area issued orders banning troops from entering the water without a flotation device or banned it entirely.
US Border Patrol agents who regularly work on the Rio Grande told The Post they are not allowed to enter the water at all and must call for a special teams who are specially trained to conduct water rescues. The agents asked not to be identified since they were not authorized to speak to the media.
Evans was stationed in New Braunfels, Texas, and has previously served in Operations Spartan Shield in Kuwait. His family — which described Evans as carefree — traveled to the border this weekend, as the search continued, according to local reports.
Evans reportedly attended Mansfield High School in a suburb of Dallas.
The tragic incident comes as migration numbers along the southern border continue to rise, hitting high of more than 221,000 in March — the most in a single month since President Biden took office.
Migrant encounters are only expected to get worse in the coming weeks, as border states brace for the administration to officially spike the Trump-era Title 42 policy – which has allowed border officials to quickly expel migrants without hearing asylum claims due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention announced earlier this month that the order would officially be lifted on May 23.