On Governor Greg Abbott’s orders, the Texas National Guard has seized control of a park in Eagle Pass where masses of illegal immigrants come through, Fox News’ Bill Melugin reported Thursday night.
In a statement, the Texas Military Department (TMD) said they were blocking U.S. Border Patrol agents from accessing Shelby Park because the Feds “perpetuate illegal crossings.”
Shelby Park is where Border Patrol agents have been caught cutting the razor wire along the border to help illegal aliens get through, as seen in the video below from last summer:
NEW: Video from source in Eagle Pass shows Border Patrol cutting through razor wire placed by the state of TX to allow migrants to enter & be processed after crossing illegally. @TxDPS tells me this is the first time they know of this happening, and that it’s being looked into… pic.twitter.com/jESPbzj9sw
— Bill Melugin (@BillMelugin_) June 30, 2023
“The Texas National Guard has maintained a presence with security points and temporary barrier in Shelby Park since 2021. The current posture is to prepare for future illegal immigrant surges and to restrict access to organizations that perpetuate illegal immigrant crossings in the park and greater Eagle Pass area,” TMD stated.
Texas authorities have set up razor wire and fences to block the public and federal agents from entering the area, Melugin reported.
NEW: The Texas Military Department confirms the TX National Guard has seized control of Shelby Park in Eagle Pass (city property where mass illegal crossings are), and is restricting Border Patrol from accessing the area, saying the Feds “perpetuate illegal crossings”. This is… pic.twitter.com/29UqFmWDsx
— Bill Melugin (@BillMelugin_) January 12, 2024
Abbott’s move comes one day after a Border Patrol whistleblower told independent journalist James O’Keefe that Border Patrol morale is at an all time low because agents are being forced to participate in the trafficking of women and young girls “on a scale bigger than anyone can imagine.”
In a statement, Eagle Pass Mayor Rolando Salinas said the decision was made as part of Gov. Greg Abbott’s emergency declaration and that the city had played no role in it. The mayor said that the City Attorney was looking into the matter and he would provide updates when they become available.
Salinas told reporters it was his understanding that that U.S. Border Patrol had left the area as a result of the Texas Guard’s stance.
The Border Patrol union confirmed that agents were blocked from entering by Texas soldiers, and “praised Abbott for taking matters into his own hands,” Melugin reported.
“Governor Abbott is not harming Border Patrol operations, he is enhancing them,” National Border Patrol Council Brandon Judd said in a statement. “His seizing control of Shelby Park allows our agents to deploy to troubled spots that experience high numbers of gotaways. Governor Abbott’s actions should be seen as a force multiplier.”
The dramatic move marks the latest escalation in a feud between the state of Texas and the federal government over how to handle the record-setting crisis, which has left both Texas and cities throughout the country overwhelmed.
Abbott launched Operation Lone Star in 2021 to surge resources and law enforcement to the border. As part of that operation, he set up a buoy border barrier in the Rio Grande River, which sparked a lawsuit from the federal government that could soon be before the Supreme Court.
Separately, the Biden administration has sued Texas over a recently signed anti-illegal immigration law that allows state and local law enforcement to arrest illegal immigrants, which the administration says interferes with the federal government’s authority and frustrates the U.S. immigration operations and proceedings, and hurts relations with foreign governments.
Texas, meanwhile, has sued the administration for cutting and destroying razor wire set up by Texas to stop illegal crossings. That wire has been set up in areas very near to Shelby Park. The lawsuit is ongoing and the administration is currently blocked from cutting the wire.
“We believe that Gov. Abbott’s policies and political stunts are not safe, not safe for Texas communities and our CBP, our law enforcement on the ground who are trying to do their work. It puts them in harm’s way, and they dehumanize and demonize immigrants. That’s what his political stunts do,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said last month.
In a statement on X reacting to the Fox News story, Governor Abbott wrote: “As caravans of migrants are moving through Mexico toward the U.S. border, we are making clear that Texas will be a tough place to cross.”
Melugin said that the Department of Justice will almost certainly sue Texas over this.
In an overnight Supreme Court filing, the Department of Justice confirmed that the Texas National Guard had “deployed armed soldiers and vehicles to block federal government from accessing the river” in Eagle Pass, and had told them no Border Patrol agents would be allowed to enter Shelby Park “in any operational capacity.”
“Border Patrol agents in a vehicle towing a boat to launch on the boat ramp requested access to Shelby Park, but the Texas National Guard refused to permit them to access the area, Border Patrol agents likewise requested access to the staging area and Texas National Guard refused,” Elizabeth Prelogar, Solicitor General Counsel of Record wrote in a supplemental memorandum. “In addition, prior to the evening of January 10, Border Patrol agents were able to drive trucks with mounted surveillance equipment to various locations in this area.”
Those trucks were used to maintain visibility and awareness of activity along this stretch of the river and border. But the Texas National Guard has now blocked Border Patrol’s access to the area, rendering its agents unable to place mobile surveillance trucks. Border Patrol’s ability to view this portion of the border is now limited to a narrow sliver from a single surveillance camera located outside of the newly fenced area. As described in the attached declaration, Border Patrol has informed this Office that the new wire, fencing, and blocked access points effectively prohibit Border Patrol agents from accessing or getting near the border along this 2.5-mile stretch of the river.