Texas has been in the spotlight of national attention as it began a showdown with federal border agents at a 47-acre area of land referred to as Eagle Pass Park. The showdown began over the Texas national guard deploying barbed wire along a frequently crossed area of the Rio Grande. The United States Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, decided that border agents are allowed to remove the barbed wire set up by the national guard. However, the national guard did not vacate the area and continued to put out more wire in different areas across the river.
Since then, the national guard has held control over key crossing points on the border in an effort to curb the high number of people crossing from Mexico into the US, something that Texas Governor Greg Abott has been extremely critical of the federal government in mishandling.
My statement on Texas’ constitutional right to self-defense. pic.twitter.com/seNFZdmujP
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) January 24, 2024
The White House is trying to solve this situation without federalizing the Texas National Guard.
During the Biden administration’s tenure, Republican and Democratic lawmakers could not come to an agreement to help alleviate the humanitarian crisis at the border. Some Democrat’s offered funding for more administrative personnel to process new arrivals quicker to prevent dangerous crossings, but some Republicans wanted stricter measures. Both parties have struggled to find middle ground, and Governor Greg Abbott cited the state’s “constitutional right” to defend itself as the reason for the deployment of the guard. The move has brought praise from those around the border region but has caused chaos for his support in D.C.
Last year, Texas deployed buoys, which resulted in drownings of women and children trying to cross. The state was also ordered to remove them shortly after, by the federal government. Abbot has also had a continuous deployment of Texas national guardsmen supplementing the border patrol in curbing illegal crossings and processing newcomers.
In 2023, there were an estimated 2.8 million encounters on the border, with an unknown number of people crossing without being caught. According to Customs and Border Patrol, this number increases every year. Additionally, in 2023, authorities seized 27,293 pounds of fentanyl, coming across the US-Mexico border—enough to kill six billion people.
As of January 25, there are calls for President Joe Biden to federalize the Texas national guard to end the standoff. However, the Governor of Texas has been urged by some Republicans to double down and defy the federal government. Some states have also provided aid and support to Texas by sending their own small detachments of their respective national guards.
The lawsuit is still ongoing, and the Supreme Court’s decision did not change much other than allowing border agents to remove sections of the wire along the river. This is likely to continue until President Biden or the U.S. Supreme Court provide a direct order that would force them to stand down.
Since January 1st, crossings in Texas as well as other parts of the border have decreased significantly, but there is still a concern that there will be a rapid rise in crossings sooner rather than later. Although tensions are high in D.C., some lawmakers on both sides are stressing the need for a unified response without making the situation in Texas worse.