Biden and Abbott administrations continue to spar over border standoff

The standoff between the state of Texas and the federal government concerning the Southern border has reached a boiling point. Following several different legal conflicts regarding the implementation of anti-migrant buoys along the Rio Grande and the use of state law regarding immigrant enforcement, the administrations of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) and President Joe Biden are sparring after the latter cut down barbed wire installed by the former. At the direction of Abbott, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) sued the federal government last October following the removal of the razor fencing by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents. CBP was instructed to do so after multiple migrants were critically injured by the barbed barriers that have been periodically installed over the past several years. “By cutting Texas’s concertina wire, the federal government has not only illegally destroyed property owned by the State of Texas; it has also disrupted the State’s border deterrence efforts, leaving gaps in Texas’s border barriers and damaging Texas’s ability to effectively deter illegal entry into Texas,” Patton said following the announcement of the suit. Patton also claimed the federal government was involved in assisting migrants to “illegally cross” the border. Following differing opinions in the lower courts, the Supreme Court recently ruled in favor of the Biden administration's efforts to remove the razor wire. But Abbott has remained steadfast. He is mobilizing the Texas National Guard to Eagle Pass — a prominent site of migration — and they are currently preventing federal agents from withdrawing the infrastructure because, per Abbott, “the federal government has broken the compact between the United States and the States.” Abbott and other conservative legal advocates have argued that the Founding Fathers explicitly reference the federal government's obligation to protect states’ from “invasion.” However, many constitutional experts rejected Abbott’s interpretation and have sided with the Supreme Court's ruling, arguing that the Biden administration is very much functioning within its legal parameters. “An influx of asylum seekers, however many we're talking about, is not what the founders had in mind when they used the word invasion,” Stephen Vladeck, a University of Texas School of Law professor, told PBS last week. “Even if you're not persuaded by that, the clause Governor Abbott's relying on in Article 1, Section 10 of the Constitution was dealing with the specific scenario of the ability of states to respond to invasions until federal authorities were able to respond.” Regardless, Texas continues to resist the removal, and its aggressive stance has curried vocal support from every Republican governor — save Vermont Gov. Phill Scott. Additionally, Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt, and Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin have announced that they will allocate additional resources and their states’ National Guard manpower to assist Texas. House Speaker Mike Johnson and former President Donald Trump have also, unsurprisingly, backed Abbott. “When I’m president, instead of trying to send Texas a restraining order, I will send them reinforcements,” Trump told supporters over the weekend. Even more concerning, a group identified as the "Take Our Border Back Convoy" will begin a pilgrimage from Virginia to Eagle Pass in solidarity with Texas. "Calling all active & retired law enforcement and military, Veterans, Mama Bears, elected officials, business owners, ranchers, truckers, bikers, media and LAW ABIDING, freedom-loving Americans," the group — which was organized on the far-right social media and includes many QAnon influencers and election deniers in its leadership — announced on its website. "The time is now for We the People to peacefully assemble in honor of our Constitutional Rights to call on our government to Take Action and SECURE OUR BORDERS!"

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Jamie Larson