Clashes between federal and Texas state governments have been escalating over the issue of immigration and border control over the past few years.
In March 2021, after President Biden took office in January, Texas Governor Greg Abbott launched Operation Lone Star, an initiative to take greater control over immigration enforcement. Abbott also instructed state authorities to erect razor wire and other barriers across the area.
Texas vs. the US Federal Government
The conflict simmered quietly until December 2023, when the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) reported over 300,000 migrant encounters. That same month, Abbott signed a new law giving state authorities the power to arrest and prosecute anyone entering Texas illegally from a foreign country. The Biden administration sued against the law, and the issue remains unsettled.
In early January 2024, Abbott instructed the Texas National Guard to block CBP agents from accessing a 2.5-mile stretch of the Texas-Mexico border near Eagle Pass.
The Supreme Court ruled that CBP agents have the right to enter the area and remove the barriers Abbot set up. The Biden administration criticized the Texas National Guard for blocking CBP agents, especially after it discovered the drowning deaths of a mother and two children trying to cross the Rio Grande to the US.
On January 22, the Supreme Court voted to allow CBP agents to remove the razor wire that Texas guards had set up. The Department of Homeland Security also urged Abbott to comply with the Supreme Court’s ruling.
Abbott, however, is refusing to back down. He has described the migrant influx as “an invasion” and accused Biden of violating “his oath to faithfully execute immigration laws enacted by Congress.”
Following the standoff between Abbott and the federal government, hundreds of protestors from around the country gathered near Eagle Pass to protest the influx of illegal immigrants coming over the Texas-Mexico border.
While several Trump flags flew, the protest was not violent — one CBS reporter called it “more like a church service than a political rally.” Their point, however, was made: Americans care about immigration and it will likely be a key issue in the upcoming presidential election.
US Immigration Policy and Upcoming Elections
According to the Migration Policy Institute, Biden has taken 535 immigration actions in his first three years of office, more than Trump’s 472 actions in four years. At the same time, over 2.4 million migrants have been allowed into the US since Biden took office in January 2021.
The issue of immigration has always been a sensitive one between Republicans and Democrats – this year even more so, given the upcoming presidential election. Abbott may be doing what he thinks is right for Texas, or he may be stirring up pro-Trump sentiment ahead of the election. As of now, the federal government and Texas are diametrically opposed to one another. Bipartisan cooperation is crucial to prevent further conflict.
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