The attorney general of Texas has firmly rejected a plea from the Biden administration to allow complete entry to a park on the southern border by federal immigration officials, which is currently restricted by the state National Guard.
has been cordoned off with barbed wire barriers, fencing and soldiers.
state officials have been in a standoff over the state’s voter ID law
The state’s voter ID law has caused a three-week standoff between federal and Texas government officials.
Currently, Texas National Guard troops, authorized by Governor Greg Abbott, have taken over Shelby Park, a publicly owned park in Eagle Pass that was previously a popular spot for migrants attempting to cross the border illegally. This has resulted in Border Patrol being unable to process migrants in the park, which used to serve as an improvised holding location for the agency.
The Department of Homeland Security, which oversees the Border Patrol, had given Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton until Friday to say the state would relent and allow federal agents inside Shelby Park. On Friday, however, Paxton rebuffed that demand, saying Texas state officials would not allow DHS to turn the area into an “unofficial and unlawful port of entry.”
Paxton promised to uphold Texas’ commitment to safeguard its southern border from any attempts by the Biden Administration to undermine the state’s constitutional right to self-defense.
In Shelby Park, guards from Texas are placing obstacles to hinder the movement of individuals attempting to enter the United States unlawfully. They are also directing them to go back to Mexico by crossing the Rio Grande. Additionally, the Texas Department of Public Safety has begun detaining certain adult migrants who enter the park on charges of criminal trespassing.
Texas officials, including Abbott, claim that the state’s measures aim to dissuade individuals from unlawfully entering the country. They criticize the federal government for not taking sufficient steps to discourage unauthorized border crossings. However, the Biden administration asserts that Texas is impeding the efforts of Border Patrol agents to monitor the Rio Grande, handle migrant processing, and assist those in need.
Immigration enforcement is a federal responsibility. Texas state officials are not legally authorized nor trained to screen migrants for asylum, arrest them for immigration violations or deport them to a foreign country. However, Abbott signed a law last month that he hopes will allow Texas officials to arrest migrants on illegal entry state-level charges and force them to return to Mexico. The Justice Department is seeking to block that law before it takes effect in March.
The Supreme Court
Previously this week was permitted.
The Border Patrol will remove the razor wire that Texas has placed along the banks of the Rio Grande river, following a temporary halt on a court ruling that prohibited the agency from doing so. The razor wire in Shelby Park will remain in place, as federal officials have not been given permission to fully access the area.
The Supreme Court has yet to make a decision on Texas’ confiscation of Shelby Park. However, if the Biden administration takes legal action against the state, the conflict could potentially be brought to federal court.
Although the White House has criticized his actions as inhumane and counterproductive, Abbott maintains that he is protecting his state from an “invasion.” His actions in Eagle Pass have been backed by Republican governors across the nation.
Last month, U.S. authorities handled a record-breaking number of over 302,000 migrants at and between entry points along the southern border.
Based on the latest government report released on Friday, there has been a decrease in illegal border crossings compared to past records. This reduction has been credited to stricter immigration measures in Mexico and a typical slowdown after the holiday season.