At the US-Mexico Border
Members of the Texas Army National Guard extend razor wire to inhibit migrants from crossing, as seen from Ciudad Juárez. Reuters

The Biden administration demanded Texas authorities stop blocking a sector of the southern border that has been commandeered by the state's National Guard, saying the action is "clearly unconstitutional," CBS News reported.

The Department of Homeland Security said that if access to a public park on Eagle Pass is not freed, it will refer the matter to the Department of Justice and "explore other option."

Shelby Park is used by Border Patrol agents to inspect and hold migrants and, according to DHS' top lawyer Jonathan Meyer, National Guard forces prevented federal operations to apprehend migrants and rescue those who might be in distress.

The letter cited the deaths of a woman and two children on Friday night as they attempted to cross the Río Grande in that area. Border Patrol authorities said they were made aware of a situation of distress but were prevented from responding by Texas national guard troops under the direction of Texas Governor Greg Abbott.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott
Republican Texas Governor Greg Abbott Photo by: Reuters/Go Nakamura

"In responding to a distress call from the Mexican government, Border Patrol agents were physically barred by Texas officials from entering the area," a border spokesperson said about the issue.

The Texas Military Department, on its end, disputed the account, saying its personnel were made aware of a distress report but could find no migrants needing help in the river and later were made aware of an incident nearby, on the Mexican side of the river, that did not require their help.

The parties are at odds over immigration enforcement, with the Department of Justice filing a lawsuit claiming a new Texas law, which allows local officials to arrest and deport migrants who cross the border unlawfully, is also unconstitutional.

SB4, as Texas' law is known, makes it a misdemeanor to illegally cross the border and a second-degree felony to do so for a second time. Punishments for this latter case range between 180 days in jail to 20 years in prison. The law also allows judges to order that undocumented people "return to the foreign nation from which they entered."

Texas governor Greg Abbott, on his end, is upping the ante with new, harsher remarks on immigration enforcement. In an interview with Dana Loesch, former spokesperson for the National Riffle Association (NRA), Abbott lamented that Texas authorities cannot shoot migrants who cross the border illegally because the federal government could charge them with murder.

"The only thing that we're not doing is we're not shooting people who come across the border because of course, the Biden administration would charge us with murder," Abbott said.

One of the first to react to Abbott's words was Beto O'Rourke, the former U.S. Representative (TX's 16th Congressional District) and unsuccessful gubernatorial candidate (he unsuccessfully ran against Abbott in 2022), who posted on X: "The governor of Texas says he'd kill more immigrants if it weren't illegal."

© 2024 Latin Times. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.