In Eagle Pass, Texas, tensions have escalated between state authorities and federal agencies over the handling of the migrant crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border.
The conflict peaked on January 10th when Texas officials obstructed U.S. Border Patrol agents from accessing a 2.5-mile stretch of the border, including Shelby Park.
This action has led to a major dispute over jurisdiction and the best approach to managing migrant crossings.
The situation worsened when, on January 12th, after Texas forces took control of Shelby Park, a tragic incident occurred where two children and their mother drowned in the Rio Grande nearby.
This event has intensified accusations from both Texas and U.S. officials, each blaming the other for the circumstances that led to the drownings.
Robert Danley, a lead field coordinator for U.S. Customs and Border Protection, reported that the Texas National Guard prevented the installation of surveillance equipment and restricted Border Patrol access to various border areas.
The Texas Military Department’s actions included erecting barriers and razor wire, severely limiting federal agents’ ability to respond to border incidents.
On the night of January 12th, Danley recounted, “The Acting Border Patrol Supervisor responded to the Shelby Park entrance gate, which was closed upon his arrival.”
He added, “The gate remained closed during the conversation, and the TNG guardsmen advised the Acting Supervisory Border Patrol Agent through the gate they had been ordered not to let Border Patrol in through the gate or give Border Patrol access to Shelby Park.”
This blockade led to a Supreme Court filing by the Biden administration on January 15th, highlighting the obstacles faced by Border Patrol due to Texas’s actions.
Texas made it impossible for Border Patrol “to take any available steps to fulfill its responsibilities and assist its counterparts in the Mexican government with undertaking the rescue mission,” wrote U.S. Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar.
In response, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton insisted that Texas did not prevent Border Patrol from accessing Shelby Park for a water rescue on the night of the drownings.
Paxton argued, “The federal agents at the gate did not even have a boat, and they did not request entry based on any medical exigency.”
As the dispute continues, Texas Governor Greg Abbott remains firm in his stance, emphasizing the effectiveness of Texas’s border security measures.
Governor Abbott asserts that constitutional provisions empower him to bypass federal directives in order to curb unauthorized border crossings.
In support of this stance, former President Donald Trump has called on states to deploy additional National Guard forces to assist Texas.
This call has garnered the support of 25 Republican governors.
The statement released by the Republican Governor’s Association on Thursday read, “We stand in solidarity with our fellow Governor, Greg Abbott, and the State of Texas in utilizing every tool and strategy, including razor wire fences, to secure the border.”
It added, “We do it in part because the Biden Administration is refusing to enforce immigration laws already on the books and is illegally allowing mass parole across America of migrants who entered our country illegally.”
“Because the Biden Administration has abdicated its constitutional compact duties to the states, Texas has every legal justification to protect the sovereignty of our states and our nation,” the statement concluded.
Meanwhile, the Department of Homeland Security has urged Texas to allow federal agents full access to disputed areas, citing the Supreme Court last Monday ruling that grants federal authorities the right to cut or remove obstacles like razor wire.
The Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, granted permission for Border Patrol agents to dismantle the concertina wire installations established by the Governor of Texas.
As the U.S. continues to witness an unprecedented surge of migrants, with over 300,000 crossing in just December, tensions between the federal and state governments remain high.