Texas Blocks Border Agents – Enforces Border Control
The state of Texas, under the leadership of Republican Governor Greg Abbott, has recently undertaken a series of bold measures to enforce border control, directly challenging the authority of the federal government in the process. This escalated approach to border enforcement is most notably illustrated by the state’s seizure of Shelby Park in Eagle Pass, a key site for the encounter and processing of migrants crossing the Rio Grande illegally.
Texas National Guard units, acting on Gov. Abbott’s orders, have barred federal U.S. Border Patrol agents from accessing Shelby Park. This park has been a pivotal location for Border Patrol agents to hold migrants in an outdoor staging area before their transportation for further processing. The move by the Texas National Guard has sparked a major jurisdictional conflict between state and federal authorities, given that Border Patrol is legally tasked with processing migrants on U.S. soil. The strategic position of Shelby Park, situated along the U.S.-Mexico border, highlights the park’s significance in the context of illegal border crossings and the ongoing debate over immigration policy.
This interdiction by the Texas National Guard has not only disrupted the operations of the Border Patrol but has also led to grave consequences. In a recent distressing incident, a woman and two children drowned in the Rio Grande near Shelby Park. Despite receiving distress calls, Texas National Guard soldiers denied Border Patrol agents the opportunity to attempt a rescue, a decision that tragically resulted in the loss of lives.
Eagle Pass Mayor Rolando Salinas expressed his city’s disapproval of the state’s takeover of Shelby Park, stating, “This is not something that we wanted. This is not something that we asked for as a city.” His comments underscore the complex interplay between local, state, and federal authorities in managing immigration and border enforcement.
In a further demonstration of Texas’s tough stance on immigration, Governor Abbott signed SB4 into law, a controversial measure that allows Texas law enforcement officials to arrest, jail, and prosecute migrants on state criminal charges for illegally entering the country, thereby duplicating a federal offense. The law, set to take effect in March, is currently being challenged in federal court by the Justice Department and civil rights groups.
In response to these developments, the federal government, through the Justice Department, has filed a motion with the Supreme Court, detailing the extraordinary standoff between Texas and the federal government. The filing reveals the extent of the state’s actions in impeding federal border enforcement capabilities. The Justice Department’s filing states, “Texas’s new actions demonstrate an escalation of the State’s measures to block Border Patrol’s ability to patrol or even to surveil the border and be in a position to respond to emergencies.”
White House spokesperson Angelo Fernández Hernández criticized Texas’s actions, saying, “Governor Abbott continues his extreme political stunts that not only seek to demonize and dehumanize people but that also make it harder and more dangerous for Border Patrol to do their jobs.” This statement reflects the broader perspective of the federal government regarding the state’s handling of border control and immigration enforcement.
The Texas National Guard’s seizure of Shelby Park is the latest and most audacious in a series of steps taken by Texas to assert its authority over border enforcement. These actions have included busing tens of thousands of migrants to Democratic-led cities, arresting thousands of migrants on trespassing charges, and fortifying the banks of the Rio Grande with razor wire and floating barriers.
Texas’s approach to immigration enforcement, particularly the recent law known as SB4, highlights the state’s commitment to stringent border control measures. However, these actions have raised serious legal and ethical questions, particularly in light of the tragic incident in which a woman and two children drowned. The inability of Border Patrol agents to intervene due to the restrictions imposed by the Texas National Guard underscores the potential human cost of such enforcement strategies.
In an affidavit attached to the Supreme Court filing, Robert Danley, a top Customs and Border Protection official in Eagle Pass, stated, “Texas’ actions were preventing his agents from patrolling the Rio Grande and processing migrants, including those who may be in distress.” He also highlighted the reduced surveillance capability in the area by 90% and the creation of safety risks for both migrants and agents.
Governor Abbott is the first to directly confront the Biden Administration about the hemorrhaging southern border. We will see where this goes, but we congratulate Abbott on having the cajones to work, not only behalf of Texas, but on behalf of America.