Border standoff between TX and federal government escalates in wake of SCOTUS ruling

 January 28, 2024

Tensions remain high at the Texas border with Mexico, as a standoff between state authorities and the federal government over the right to stem the flow of illegal migration continues apace, as New York Magazine's Intelligencer reports, with a recent Supreme Court ruling bringing about an escalation in the confrontation.

With Republican governors in large numbers now coming to the defense of Texas officials and the federal government standing firm in the wake of its favorable outcome at the high court, the rhetoric surrounding the issue is intensifying, and what happens next is anyone's guess.

Background of dispute

Though razor wire barriers have been used for some time as a means to deter unlawful border crossings, Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott broadened its application after issuing a disaster declaration and installing more such fencing near the Rio Grande.

A dispute arose when Customs and Border Protection agents started cutting the wire in order to assist migrants said to be in danger of harm due to its presence and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton sued the federal government to halt that practice.

Following a series of battles in lower courts, the U.S. Supreme court last week ruled in a 5-4 decision that border agents could move forward with plans to cut the wires as needed, setting the stage for a serious debate about the federal government's obligation to enforce immigration laws and the state's right to protect its borders against invasion.

Abbott stands firm

Despite the SCOTUS decision on the fencing controversy, Abbott has remained firm in his belief that he has the right – and indeed the obligation – to do what the Biden administration has refused to do.

Abbott on Wednesday declared that “the federal government has broken the compact between the United States and the States” by refusing to halt the flow of migrants at the border.

This defiance has been in evidence over recent days by the fact that Texas National Guard troops have been in a continued standoff with Border Patrol agents regarding the integrity of the razor wire.

Though the Department of Homeland Security demanded that Abbott permit Border Patrol agents to access the public park property that has become a focal point of the debate, the governor rejected the request on Friday.

Governors, others rally in support of Texas

Amid the ongoing impasse, a group of 24 Republican governors on Thursday issued a statement siding with Abbott, as Politico reports, echoing his claims that Texas has a “constitutional right to self-defense” in the face of federal inaction.

The governors declared, “We stand in solidarity with our fellow governor, Greg Abbott, and the State of Texas in utilizing every tool and strategy, including razor wire fences, to secure the border.”

“Because the Biden administration has abdicated its constitutional compact duties to the states, Texas has every legal justification to protect the sovereignty of our states and our nation,” the governors went on.

Solidarity with Abbott is coming not just from his fellow governors, but also from a group of concerned Americans who are organizing a convoy in the direction of the southern border to show support for the actions he is taking, as Fox News reports.

Organizers are hoping to “send a message” to officials and call on them to close the border and deport illegal migrants “before irreversible serious consequences befall our nation,” and this type of mobilization will almost certainly draw additional attention to the crisis at time when the president is already facing serious scrutiny and criticism on the issue in this pivotal election year.

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