The Biden Administration has sent Texas a cease-and-desist letter that orders state law enforcement and national guard personnel to vacate Shelby Park in Eagle Pass, a public park that has become a popular staging area for massive caravans of illegal aliens. Texas officials took control of the park last week, arguing that Border Patrol agents are encouraging illegal immigration.
The Shelby Park standoff represents the latest flashpoint in the months-long feud between Texas and the Biden Administration over border law enforcement. Texas Governor Greg Abbott has deployed hundreds of law enforcement and national guard to the border as part of Operation Lonestar. A new law will allow Texas officials to arrest illegal aliens and empower courts to deport them, a move that has been deemed illegal by the Biden Administration.
On Tuesday, Department of Homeland General Counsel Jonathan Meyer penned a letter to Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton in which he argued that Operation Lonestar is not only illegal, but is also endangering the lives of border crossers. “The recent actions by the State of Texas have impeded operations of the Border Patrol,” Meyer wrote. “Those actions conflict with the authority and duties of Border Patrol under federal law and are preempted under the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution.”
Meyer further stated that the Lonestar State’s actions seek to seek to “regulate the federal government.”
“I am writing to demand that Texas immediately cease and desist any actions taken by the State that block Border Patrol’s full access to the U.S.-Mexico border in and around the Shelby Park area,” the letter continued.
Meyer pointed to a recent incident where a woman and two children drowned in the Rio Grande near Eagle Pass and insinuated that Texas’ actions were responsible. “Texas’s failure to provide access to the border persists even in instances of imminent danger to life and safety,” Meyer wrote. “Texas has demonstrated that even in the most exigent circumstances, it will not allow Border Patrol access to the border to conduct law enforcement and emergency response activities.”
Texas has thoroughly rejected the federal government’s claims, calling them “wholly inaccurate.” The Texas Military Department stated that Border Patrol agents were alerted to the incident by Mexican authorities, who had already retrieved the bodies. The department said Border Patrol specifically asked for entry in order to pursue potential witnesses to the incident.
In reference to the incident, a White House spokesperson said that it is “clear” that Abbott’s “political stunts are cruel, inhumane and dangerous.”
Despite escalating tensions, Abbott has vowed to continue with Operation Lonestar. “We’re not going to let this happen anymore,” he said in a statement earlier this week.
In March, a new law is set to take effect that will allow Texas law enforcement and national guard personnel to detain illegal aliens while also empowering courts to deport them. This stands in direct opposition to the Biden Administration’s “catch and release” policy, under which illegal aliens are issued a court date before being released into the U.S. interior.
Texas has also set up water and land-based barriers in the Eagle Pass area, which has led to a back-and-forth legal saga with the Biden Administration.