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Crisis on the Texas-Mexico Border Leaves Texans Fighting the Country That’s Supposed to Protect Them

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The arrival of 2024 saw the US federal government and the state of Texas continuing their ongoing dispute over border enforcement and the complete abdication by the federal government of its responsibility to “protect each [state] against invasion” (Article IV, §4 US Constitution). The situation is shaping up to be more than just a squabble, and a mutual settlement is becoming less likely by the day. 

On January 14, 2024, the Biden administration sent a letter to Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, demanding Texas cease its efforts to prevent US Border Patrol from accessing border property in Shelby Park in Eagle Pass, TX. Today (January 17) Paxton responded:

“On behalf of the State of Texas, I write in response to your demand letter of January 14, 2024, in which you complain about how the Texas Military Department (TMD) recently seized and secured Shelby Park in the City of Eagle Pass, Texas. Your letter misstates both the facts and the law in demanding that Texas surrender to President Biden’s open-border policies.”

“Because the facts and law side with Texas, the State will continue utilizing its constitutional authority to defend her territory, and I will continue defending those lawful efforts in court. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) should stop wasting scarce time and resources suing Texas, and start enforcing the immigration laws Congress already has on the books.”

Texas Seizes Control of Shelby Park in Eagle Pass

On Thursday, January 11, at the behest of Texas Governor Greg Abbott, Texas National Guard units moved into Shelby Park in Eagle Pass—an area that has become the center of President Joe Biden’s illegal immigration crisis at the US southern border—in an effort to secure the wide-open border.  Texas guardsmen erected barriers around the park and instructed US Border Patrol agents to leave the area.

The federal government, believing  Texas was overstepping its bounds and interfering with federal immigration law by “blocking” points of entry and “deploying” armed soldiers and vehicles to prevent US Border Patrol agents from accessing the Rio Grande River, sent a letter to Abbott. The crime? Texas was simply doing the job the federal government won’t do: Protecting her citizens and enforcing the law.

In a recent statement, National Border Patrol Council Brandon Judd acknowledged agents were being blocked from entering the area by the Texas National Guard but noted, “Governor Abbott is not harming Border Patrol operations. He is enhancing them. 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 Texas Military Department also issued a statement, explaining it has maintained a presence in Shelby Park since 2021 and that  “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.”

Border Patrol agents are quietly applauding Texas’ efforts. Several agents recently spoke to the Daily Caller under conditions of anonymity and addressed the situation: “If we were allowed to secure the border, we’d have it shut down in four days,” and “I think for us, finally someone is doing something about the influx of people just pouring in.”

US Immigration Law

While the US Constitution grants the federal government ultimate authority over immigration matters (US Immigration and Customs Enforcement [ICE] and US Customs and Border Protection [CBP] are tasked with enforcing immigration laws), states can and do play a pivotal role in the enforcement of immigration laws and law enforcement activities within their borders. Border states routinely collaborate with federal authorities to share information, participate in joint task forces, and address a multitude of immigration issues.

So what happens when the entity that is supposed to be in control of and responsible for enforcing immigration law in the United States—the federal government—ceases to perform its duties?

Operation Lone Star

In 2021, Governor Abbott launched Operation Lone Star to counter a rise in illegal immigration, the illegal drug trade; and human smuggling along the Texas-Mexico border. A joint operation between the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Texas Military Department, Operation Lone Star has led to hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrant apprehensions and tens of thousands of criminal arrests and felony charges. Since the operation’s inception, Texas law enforcement has seized almost 500 million lethal doses of fentanyl.

The Texas National Guard has been deployed to the border since Operation Lone Star’s inception. The Texas Military Department has mobilized thousands of troops for the effort, with the Texas National Guard working around the clock alongside the Texas Department of Public Safety to detect and stop criminal activity at the border.

TEXIT allows Texas to take immigration matters into its own hands

Texas continues to try to hold the line at the southern border, utilizing such efforts as installing concertina razor wire and other anti-climb barriers. But as long as the state remains shackled to the feckless US government, these are nothing but temporary, stopgap measures.

In his book, Texit: Why and How Texas Will Leave The Union, Texas Nationalist Movement President Daniel Miller writes extensively on immigration and the border, stating: “Texans have made it abundantly clear that they want a border with Mexico that is secure and an immigration policy that is structured, rational, and fair to those who are already citizens, as well as those who wish to become citizens. While the federal government claims that both these issues fall squarely in the scope of its authority, it has delivered none of what Texans want or need.”

Not only has the federal government failed to allocate resources to protect the border from masses of illegal immigrants who cross into Texas daily, it continues to incentivize them. Texans are paying a heavy price for the federal government’s feckless stance, with taxpayers bearing some of the highest costs, accounting for $billions annually. The disturbing consequences of the federal government’s abdication of its Constitutional responsibilities go far beyond a fiscal impact; public safety has been considerably affected as well.

Miller says, “The federal government, although well aware of the challenges posed by the border and illegal immigration, seems paralyzed when it comes to actually dealing with them. Unilateral attempts [by Texas] … have been shot down by federal courts with stern reminders that, in the opinion of the federal government, matters related to immigration and border are under their sole authority. 

The United States has made its position on illegal immigration clear: It values illegal non-citizens far more than it values the Texans it claims as its own. The solution is not only clear, it’s unmistakable: Texas has the right and, at this point, the duty to defend herself and peacefully divorce from the US. 


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