In a bold move heating up tensions between state and federal authorities, the Texas National Guard has barred Border Patrol agents from entering Shelby Park in Eagle Pass, Texas.
The strategic location, pivotal in monitoring and managing migrant flow across the border, has been a significant area of operation for Border Patrol. However state forces have now taken a stand that has directly challenged Biden’s federal authority.
The situation escalated this morning when Texas National Guardsmen firmly denied Border Patrol agents access to the park. This comes amidst ongoing debates and criticisms surrounding the Biden administration’s handling of illegal immigration.
The Texas National Guard’s action is seen as a direct response to the federal government’s lax approach to border security.
Governor Greg Abbott of Texas, known for his tough stance on immigration, appears to be doubling down in his fight against federal policies.
The Department of Justice has voiced concerns over the situation, noting that the fencing and the Texas National Guard’s blockade are significantly restricting the Border Patrol’s ability to deploy mobile surveillance trucks and other essential equipment.
Texas state officials on Wednesday took control of a riverfront public park in Eagle Pass as part of the state’s effort to arrest illegal aliens under Operation Lonestar. Federal officials will be prohibited from the site, where large groups of illegal aliens frequently enter the U.S., as Texas officials argue that they actively encourage unlawful immigration.
Texas has frequently clashed with the Biden Administration over border control, with the administration asserting that it has full control over enforcement. Abbott has vowed to sidestep the president with a number of border control measures, however, including the construction of barriers and using Texas law enforcement personnel to arrest illegal aliens.
This has resulted in a number of competing lawsuits with neither side showing any signs of slowing down.
On Thursday, the stand-off escalated when Texas law enforcement assets and National Guard troops seized control of Shelby Park in Eagle Pass.
“The Texas Military Department confirms the TX National Guard has seized control of Shelby Park in Eagle Pass (city property where mass illegal crossings are), and is restricting Border Patrol from accessing the area, saying the Feds ‘perpetuate illegal crossings,'” reported Fox News border correspondent Bill Melugin. “This is the area where Border Patrol has been cutting TX razor wire. Razor wire and fences are now deployed to block the area off from the public and federal government.”
In a statement of its own, the Texas Military Department stated that it has maintained a security presence at 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 statement continued, according to Melugin.
The department did not disclose how long the park will remain closed, meaning that planned festivals and other activities scheduled for this spring could be postponed.
“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,” Renae Eze, a spokesperson for Texas Governor Greg Abbott, said in a statement to the New York Post.