Texas escalates border dispute and erects new barriers

In a heightening clash over border control, Texas has erected new barriers, impeding Border Patrol access along the Mexican border, intensifying tensions between Governor Greg Abbott and President Joe Biden.

Texas implemented additional barriers along a section of its border with Mexico this week, impeding Border Patrol access, according to a court filing on Friday. The Texas National Guard added concertina wire and fencing near Eagle Pass, obstructing U.S. Border Patrol from reaching a city park with a crucial boat ramp leading to the Rio Grande, as stated in a U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) filing to the U.S. Supreme Court.

In the filing, Robert Danley, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection official, highlighted that the denial of access to the boat ramp leaves agents unable to monitor the area and lacking practical options to respond to distressed migrants.

This move is part of an escalating conflict over migration between Texas Governor Greg Abbott, a Republican, and U.S. President Joe Biden. The broader disagreement revolves around the record number of migrants illegally crossing the border since Biden assumed office in 2021. Texas, traditionally under federal jurisdiction for border controls, has increasingly taken matters into its own hands.

Governor Abbott, asserting Texas’s legal authority, claimed during a Friday press conference that the state can control entry to any location within its borders, citing operational control of Shelby Park in Eagle Pass as an example.

A spokesperson for the Texas Military Department noted that the National Guard had maintained a presence and temporary barrier in the park since 2021, with current actions aimed at deterring future illegal crossings.

Abbott had previously ordered the installation of razor wire and floating buoys in the Rio Grande, sparking a legal battle with the White House. The Biden administration recently asked the Supreme Court to temporarily allow Border Patrol agents to address wire fencing that Texas argues is essential to prevent illegal crossings.

The Supreme Court is yet to rule on the administration’s request to pause a lower court’s decision temporarily blocking federal agents from altering the fencing during ongoing litigation.

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