Show Down at the Rio Grande
The Biden administration’s open-borders policies, which have resulted in more than 300,000 illegal aliens crossing our borders every month, have pushed state and local governments all across the country to the brink. None more so than Texas, which has borne the brunt of the border crisis ever since President Biden took office.
Texas has been pushing back – most notably, busing illegal aliens to sanctuary jurisdictions around the country that claim to welcome them. But even that has not been enough to alleviate the crisis the Lone Star State has been facing. Finally, in December, Gov. Greg Abbott signed SB 4, a law that makes illegal entry a state crime. Under SB 4, Texas law enforcement may arrest illegal migrants for illegally entering the state and judges are authorized to issue orders to remove illegal aliens to their home countries.
The law does not go into effect until March. It also faces legal challenges from an assortment of illegal alien “rights” groups, the U.S. Department of Justice, and the government of Mexico. But while this litigation remains pending, the federal government’s adamant refusal to stop mass illegal immigration has led to several other dust-ups between the State of Texas and the Biden administration.
Most recently, Texas erected barriers blocking the Border Patrol’s access to Shelby Park in Eagle Pass, which is situated along the banks of the Rio Grande. The park is one of the areas where the state erected razor wire fencing intended to deter illegal aliens from crossing the dangerous river to reach the U.S. side.
In a strongly worded letter to the Department of Homeland Security, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton openly defied the Department’s demand that the state remove the barriers blocking the Border Patrol’s access to Shelby Park. Paxton disputed DHS’s claim that the state was preventing the Border Patrol from rendering emergency assistance to individuals in need. He reminded DHS that back in 2023, it told Texas DPS that “federal personnel would not be present to administer aid unless Texas called for help.”
Paxton also rejected DHS’s contention that its agents are entitled to access to the park. The law, he argued, only allows access “for the purpose of patrolling the border to prevent the illegal entry of aliens into the United States.” The attorney general then pointed out the obvious: “President Biden has ordered your agency to do the exact opposite, in keeping with his open-borders campaign promise. There is not even a pretense that you are trying to prevent the illegal entry of aliens.”
The closure of Shelby Park and the other barriers put in place by Texas are the subjects of other battles between the state and the federal government. FAIR’s legal affiliate, the Immigration Reform Law Institute, has filed amicus briefs in several of the lawsuits between Texas and the federal government supporting Texas’ efforts to secure the border.
Sadly, the Biden administration’s refusal to carry out its responsibility to secure our borders, enforce our immigration laws and protect the security of the nation has created a confrontation not with the people who violate our laws, but with state and local governments that are desperately trying to fill the void created by the inaction of the administration. The show down at the Rio Grande is yet another indication that Congress must act to rein-in the administration’s discretion not to enforce our immigration laws.