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Abbott Pledges to Expand Texas Border Security Initiative With Support From 13 Republican Governors in Eagle Pass

Governor Greg Abbott, accompanied by 13 Republican governors, convened on Sunday at a public park at the heart of an unprecedented standoff between state and federal authorities. During a joint press conference at Shelby Park, a critical border stretch seized by the state last month, Abbott reiterated his commitment to further intensify the border security operation.

The governor stated that the purpose of the press conference at Shelby Park, where the state blocked Border Patrol activities last month, was to convey a message to President Joe Biden. Abbott emphasized the need for states to defend themselves against the perceived imminent danger and framed the surge in asylum-seekers as an “invasion” from millions worldwide.

Standing alongside armed state soldiers and military vehicles, Abbott announced, “As we speak right now, the Texas National Guard is undertaking operations to expand this.” He did not elaborate on the specifics of the expansion.

Critics argue that Abbott’s ongoing clash with the federal government and his persistent use of the term “invasion” are creating potentially hazardous conditions in the small border community and beyond. Over the weekend, a convoy of truckers arrived in the area with plans to rally against the perceived border threat, raising concerns about public safety.

U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro, a Democrat from San Antonio, reported that a U.S. Customs and Border Protection facility was evacuated due to threats. Castro criticized Abbott, stating that by labeling the situation an invasion, he is putting people’s lives at risk.

Abbott’s escalating dispute with the federal government coincides with his push to expand Texas’ role in immigration enforcement, a domain traditionally under federal purview. With approximately $11 billion allocated by the GOP-controlled Legislature, Abbott has deployed state police and National Guard members to arrest migrants for state charges. This initiative, known as Operation Lone Star, includes setting up barriers along the Rio Grande, which has faced backlash following a recent Supreme Court decision.

The latest controversy emerged after the Supreme Court decision allowed federal agents to remove razor wire barriers, prompting widespread criticism from Republicans. Despite a Department of Homeland Security demand to remove obstructions on federally owned land, Texas state leaders have not complied, resulting in an ongoing standoff.

Governors from 13 Republican-led states, including Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, and New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu, joined Abbott in Eagle Pass for the press conference. Some, like Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a notable immigration critic, did not attend.

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee expressed support for Abbott’s leadership on the border issue, while critics argue that Abbott’s policies are more about political posturing than effective border control.

In the midst of the state-federal standoff, the Biden administration released data indicating a record number of migrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border in December, with a subsequent 50% drop in January. Fox News reported a shift in illegal crossings to Arizona and California, with a significant decline in the Eagle Pass sector.

Despite claims of Texas’ deterrence efforts, critics like Aaron Reichlin-Melnick from the American Immigration Council argue that there is no evidence these measures impacted migration significantly. He attributes the decline to the Mexican government disrupting the flow of migrants following discussions with U.S. officials.

Abbott, however, maintains that the state’s efforts at Shelby Park demonstrate its capability, challenging President Biden to take action. Biden, in turn, has called on Congress to pass legislation granting more border security powers, while bipartisan negotiations on a bill continue in the Senate. The outcome of the bill’s potential passage in the House remains uncertain.

Staff
Staff
Written by RA News staff.

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