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Texas fences off public park in Eagle Pass without notifying local authorities


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The Hill

Rafael Bernal

01/11/24

Texas state officials on Wednesday took control of a riverfront park in Eagle Pass, Texas, blocking access to the facility with Texas National Guard Humvees.

Eagle Pass Mayor Rolando Salinas said he received a call from Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) South Texas Regional Director Victor Escalon informing him officials were seizing the 47-acre Shelby Park but that the action was taken without the city’s consent.

(Snip)

Yet at a news conference Thursday, Salinas said DPS and the Texas National Guard were now preventing private citizens, city officials and Border Patrol officers from entering the park, according to The Dallas Morning News.

Officials with Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the Border Patrol’s parent agency, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The seizure is part of a pattern under Operation Lone Star where Texas is pushing the envelope in its enforcement of immigration laws, an authority widely understood to be constitutionally restricted to the federal government.

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H/T The Right Scoop

 
#BREAKING The state of Texas has seized all city property along the riverfront at the border in the Eagle Pass area under governors emergency powers, including federal processing locations and equipment—This is according to multiple sources. All access to the property is limited to state authority only. Border Patrol will be permitted to enter the property to remove their equipment and supplies—Agents will not have access to the area unless there is a medical emergency. I am told that the state plans to start arresting all who cross for criminal trespass—This is not under the new illegal entry law #SB4– They have been arresting for criminal trespass for months. Statement from
@RenaeEze with @GovAbbott office:
 
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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 the area where Border Patrol has been cutting TX razor wire. Razor wire and fences are now deployed to block the area off from the public and federal government. Attached video is from our crew on the ground this morning as they began blocking it off. You can expect DOJ to sue Texas over this. Texas Military Department statement: “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.” I reached out to CBP/Border Patrol in the sector for comment hours ago - no response yet.
 
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Texas National Guard seizes key border crossing point, blocks Feds

The Texas National Guard has seized control of city property in a key border crossing point and is restricting access by the Border Patrol, the Texas Military Department said in a statement obtained by Fox News's Bill Melugin.

"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," they told the outlet.

"Texas will continue to deploy Texas National Guard soldiers, DPS troopers, and more barriers, utilizing every tool and strategy to respond to President Biden’s ongoing border crisis," Abbott spokeswoman Renae Eze told the New York Post. The city of Eagle Pass, Texas, confirmed the same day that state authorities were taking control of the area. Shelby Park is city property adjacent to the Rio Grande river, the waterway that divides the U.S. from Mexico.

 

The move comes amid myriad legal battles between Texas and the federal government over Operation Lone Star, Austin's unilateral effort to secure its border Mexico amid perceived apathy from the federal government and an unprecedented surge in illegal crossings.

The Border Patrol Union lauded Texas GOP Gov. Greg Abbott's actions, saying he "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.":snip:

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Texas files response in concertina border barrier lawsuit with Supreme Court

(The Center Square) – The state of Texas has filed a response with the U.S. Supreme Court to an appeal made by the Biden administration in a lawsuit filed over concertina wire barriers erected on Texas soil by officials working through Gov. Greg Abbott’s border security mission, Operation Lone Star.

The administration requested the Supreme Court vacate a current injunction imposed by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals blocking the administration from removing the barriers in the Eagle Pass area. The Biden administration is requesting the Supreme Court immediately allow federal agents to continue to destroy or remove the concertina wire barriers.

In October 2023, Texas sued the Biden administration after Border Patrol agents destroyed the barriers. They were erected in an area of Texas inundated by illegal border crossers resulting in Eagle Pass declaring a state of emergency. Abbott surged resources to the area and began installing additional barriers.:snip:

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Texas Blocks Federal Agents From Section of Border

Charles Hilu

January 12, 2024

migrant-crossings-at-southern-border-inc

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Members of the Texas National Guard stopped Border Patrol agents from operating in a 2.5-mile stretch of the border that includes Shelby Park in Eagle Pass, Texas, one of the boundary's most highly trafficked areas. The federal government called out Texas's move Friday in a filing in the Supreme Court.

The filing includes an affidavit from Robert Danley, a Customs and Border Protection official, who said a Texas official told him "that it is the position of the State of Texas, through the National Guard, that it will not allow Border Patrol or DOD personnel who support Border Patrol into the approximately 2.5-mile stretch along the national border near Shelby Park in any operational capacity."

Danley went on to allege that Texas's troops cut off Border Patrol's access to a boat ramp it uses for operations in the area, greatly reduced its surveillance capacity at the border, and stopped it from using the area as a place to hold migrants awaiting processing.

(Snip)

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Texas AG tells Biden administration to pound sand in response to threatening DHS letter

'The facts and law side with Texas,' said Ken Paxton, attorney general of the Lone Star State.
Joseph MacKinnon
January 18, 2024

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The Biden administration was enraged by the Lone Star State's effort to reinforce American sovereignty. The Department of Homeland Security sent a strongly worded cease-and-desist letter to Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton Sunday, demanding Texas cave and grant federal agents "full access to the U.S.-Mexico border in and around the Shelby Park area."

Paxton responded in a Jan. 17 letter effectively telling the Biden administration to pound sand.

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"Texas has the legal authority to control ingress and egress into any geographical location in the state of Texas, and that authority is being asserted with regard to that park in Eagle Pass, Texas, to maintain operational control of it," said Abbott.

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Biden administration lashes out

White House spokesman Angelo Fernandez Hernandez blasted the park seizure as an "extreme" political stunt purposed to "demonize and dehumanize" people, reported Bloomberg.

"Governor Abbott has repeatedly proven that he is not interested in solutions and only seeks to politicize the border," wrote Hernandez.

While White House officials beat their chests, Jonathan Meyer, general counsel for the DHS, sent a letter to Paxton on Jan. 14 complaining that Texas had ousted U.S. Border Patrol from the park and denied it access following the seizure.

After suggesting the DHS was "committed to securing the border," Meyer claimed the Lone Star State's actions "conflict with the authority and duties of Border Patrol under federal law and are preempted under the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution. Texas's actions also improperly seek to regulate the federal government."

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Texas doesn't blink

Paxton did not mince words in his reply, obtained by the Daily Caller: "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 Lone Star State's attorney general stressed that the DHS "should stop wasting scarce time and resources suing Texas, and start enforcing the immigration laws Congress already has on the books."

In his letter, Paxton cast doubt on several key claims made in the DHS letter, noting that:

(Snip)

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