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Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Thursday ordered state authorities and National Guard troops to seize a city park that serves as a key infiltration point for migrants entering the country illegally while also blocking Border Patrol agents from the area.
In addition to Guard troops, Abbott, a Republican who has been feuding with the administration for the past three years over policies enacted by President Joe Biden that many believe created the current border crisis, also ordered Texas Department of Public Safety officers and other law enforcement officials to assist, according to a statement Fox News correspondent Bill Melugin obtained from the Texas Military Department.
“The Texas National Guard has maintained a presence with security points and temporary barrier in Shelby Park since 2021. The current posture is to prepare for future illegal immigrant surges and to restrict access to organizations that perpetuate illegal immigrant crossings in the park and greater Eagle Pass area,” the department said.
“Texas will continue to deploy Texas National Guard soldiers, DPS troopers, and more barriers, utilizing every tool and strategy to respond to President Biden’s ongoing border crisis,” Abbott spokeswoman Renae Eze told the New York Post.
Eagle Pass, Texas, officials have confirmed that state authorities have taken over the area. Shelby Park is a city property that sits adjacent to the Rio Grande River, which divides the U.S. and Mexico.
— Bill Melugin (@BillMelugin_) January 12, 2024
Just the News noted further:
The move comes amid myriad legal battles between Texas and the federal government over Operation Lone Star, Austin’s unilateral effort to secure its border Mexico amid perceived apathy from the federal government and an unprecedented surge in illegal crossings.
Abbott in late December, signed a law making illegal entry into Texas a state crime and permitting authorities to arrest illegal immigrants and state judges to order their deportation. The state has also quarreled with Washington over its installation of a buoy barrier in the river and the installation of razor war along the shore.
Border Patrol officials actually praised the initiative. The agency’s union said in a statement that Abbott “is not harming Border Patrol operations, he is enhancing them. His seizing control of Shelby Park allows our agents to deploy to troubled spots that experience high numbers of gotaways. Governor Abbott’s actions should be seen as a force multiplier.”
Tensions have been simmering between Texas officials and the White House since Biden took office amid record surges in illegal crossings.
In June 2021, for example, Abbott announced he had ordered the construction of sections of border wall to help staunch the flow of migrants into his state.
“Building the border barrier has begun,” Abbott announced in a tweet containing a video of construction equipment clearing brush. “The 1st step is to get easements on land. The 2nd step is to clear the land for the building process. That is what is happening here. The Texas Facilities Commission is working to hire a program manager to oversee the entire process.”
“Texas has officially started building its own border wall. Biden allows open border policies and refuses to enforce laws passed by Congress to secure the border and enforce immigration laws,” the GOP governor added. “Texas is stepping up to do the federal government’s job.”
In December, Arizona’s Democratic governor became the latest state leader to defy Biden over his immigration and border policies, as more members of his party continued to break with him over the issue ahead of the 2024 elections.
Gov. Katie Hobbs issued an executive order directing elements of the Arizona National Guard to deploy to the state’s border with Mexico as the illegal migrant crisis worsens.
In it, she blamed Biden for the “unmitigated humanitarian crisis” across the 2,000-mile U.S.-Mexico border while further criticizing him for his refusal to direct federally-ordered troops to a portion of her state where thousands of migrants per day enter the country illegally and done so for weeks.
“Yet again, the federal government is refusing to do its job to secure our border and keep our communities safe,” Hobbs said in a statement. “With this Executive Order, I am taking action where the federal government won’t.”