Texas blocks federal border agents from processing migrants in Eagle Pass public park

Two U.S. officials said CBS News that Texas officials blocked federal U.S. Border Patrol officers from entering and patrolling an area of public space in Eagle Pass, Texas. This is where the agents typically encounter illegal migrants crossing the Rio Grande.

Texas National Guard units sent by Republican Governor Greg Abbott seized control of Shelby Park, Eagle Pass. Federal officials claim that Greg Abbott has prevented Border Patrol agents entering the area. The Border Patrol used the park to stage migrants outside before transporting them to further processing in recent weeks, including last months, when illegal crossings reached record levels.

One of the officials, who requested anonymity as they were not authorized by the state to speak to the media, said that earlier Thursday, Texas officials had prevented Border Patrol boats patrolling this area.

The official stated that “they are refusing entry to Border Patrol Agents to perform our duties.” They are not certain “what authority Texas officials have over the federal Government.”

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According to federal law, Border Patrol is responsible for processing migrants on U.S. territory and determining whether they should be detained, transferred to another agency, or deported.

The border between the U.S.A. and Mexico lies in the middle Rio Grande in Texas.

Eagle Pass Mayor Rolando Salinas stated that the city of Eagle Pass, which administers Shelby Park in Texas, has not given permission for state officials to take the area.

Salinas stated on Thursday that “this is not something we wanted.” “This isn’t something we as a community asked for.”

Michael Perry, the spokesperson for the Texas Military Department which oversees the State National Guard, stated that the actions taken were to prevent illegal border crossings.

Perry stated in a press release that the Texas National Guard had maintained a security presence in Shelby Park with temporary barriers and security points since 2021. “The current position is to prepare for a future surge of illegal immigrants and to restrict the access to organizations who perpetuate illegal immigration crossings in Eagle Pass and the park.”

Shelby Park’s seizure is the latest, most brazen attempt by Texas officials to challenge federal immigration authority. Texas, under Abbott’s leadership has bused thousands of migrants into Democratic-led cities. It has also arrested thousands of adult migrants on trespassing offenses and fortified its banks along the Rio Grande River with razor wire and floating barrier.

Abbott signed SB4 last month. This law allows Texas law enforcement to arrest, jail, and prosecute migrants for state criminal charges such as entering the country without permission. Justice Department and civil right groups are challenging the law in federal court, as it criminalizes a federally illegal act. The law is scheduled to go into effect in March.