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Texas AG Tells Biden Administration ‘Facts and Law’ On Texas’ Side I Response To DHS letter

Last week, Texas took control of a 47-acre municipal park in Eagle Pass that has been a hotspot for illegal border crossings.

This move was made because the Biden administration has shown reluctance to enforce immigration law and secure the border, leaving federal agents handcuffed.

The Biden administration was furious with Texas for taking steps to protect American sovereignty.

The Department of Homeland Security sent a stern cease-and-desist letter to Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, demanding that Texas grant federal agents “full access to the U.S.-Mexico border in and around the Shelby Park area.”

In response, Paxton effectively told the Biden administration to go away in a letter dated January 17th. Addressing a vulnerability On January 10th, Texas assumed control of Shelby Park under an emergency declaration from Republican Governor Greg Abbott.

The goal was to reduce the influx of illegal immigrants into the state. The park is located near a heavily trafficked 2.5-mile section of the Rio Grande where floating barriers have been installed by the state as a deterrent.

The Texas National Guard erected fencing around the park and blocked entrances to the river with help from border barriers and soldiers.

While U.S. Border Patrol agents were given access to the boat ramp in case of medical emergencies, it seems that otherwise federal agents were denied entry and access by the state.

“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.

Abbott spokeswoman Renae Eze said in a statement, “Texas is holding the line at our southern border with miles of additional razor wire and anti-climb barriers to deter and repel the record-high levels of illegal immigration invited by President Biden’s reckless open border policies.”

Blaze News previously reported that in December, there were over 300,000 illegal immigrants who entered the U.S. through the southern border, marking the highest monthly number ever recorded.

This brings the total for this fiscal year to over 800,000, not including unreported border crossings.

In fiscal years 2023, 2022, and 2021, there were respectively 2.47 million, 2.37 million, and 1.73 million illegal immigrants who entered the United States.

The Biden administration responded strongly to the park seizure incident by criticizing it as an “extreme” political stunt aimed at vilifying and dehumanizing individuals.

White House spokesman Angelo Fernandez Hernandez made these remarks according to Bloomberg’s report.

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

In the midst of White House officials boasting, Jonathan Meyer, the general counsel for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), addressed a letter to Paxton on January 14th. The letter expressed discontent with Texas’ decision to remove U.S. Border Patrol from the park and deny them access subsequent to 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.”

In addition to accusing Texas of disregarding federal law, Meyer held Texas responsible for the tragic drowning of three undocumented immigrants.

The general counsel of the DHS hinted in his letter that these migrants lost their lives while attempting to illegally enter the country through the Shelby Park area and could have potentially been rescued by Border Patrol agents if not for interference from Texas officials.

“Texas’s failure to provide access to the border persists even in instances of imminent danger to life and safety,” wrote Meyer.

The DHS issued the following ultimatum: “If you have not confirmed by the end of day on January 17, 2024, that Texas will cease and desist its efforts to block Border Patrol’s access in and around the Shelby Park area and remove all barriers to access to the U.S.-Mexico border, we will refer the matter to the Department of Justice for appropriate action and consider all other options available to restore Border Patrol’s access to the border.”

Paxton did not mince words in his reply:

“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.”

Paxton expressed skepticism towards various crucial assertions put forth in the DHS letter, highlighting that:

  • Texas was not impeding lifesaving care for illegal aliens and continues to permit access to U.S. Border Patrol “responding to a medical emergency”;
  • contra to Meyer’s claim that the DHS is committed to “‘rendering emergency assistance to individuals in need,'” it allegedly absolved itself of such a duty in 2023 “and advised the Texas Department of Public Safety that federal personnel would not be present to administer aid unless Texas called for help”;
  • the migrants who drowned did so on the Mexican side of the river, and the U.S. federal agents present as the incident unfolded “did not even have a boat, and they did not request entry based on any medical exigency”;
  • safety threats facing migrants were the product not of Texas border defenses but of Biden administration polices, adding “nobody drowns on a bridge”; and that
  • per 8 U.S.C. § 1357(a)(3), U.S. Border Patrol’s lawful, warrantless access to borderlands is only “for the purpose of patrolling the border to prevent the illegal entry of aliens.”

Paxton concluded his letter noting, “President Biden has authorized DHS to send a threatening letter through its lawyers. But Texas has lawyers, too, and I will continue to stand up for this State’s constitutional powers of self-defense. Instead of running to the U.S. Department of Justice in hopes of winning an injunction, you should advise your clients at DHS to do their job and follow the law.”

The Biden administration received another setback within hours of receiving Paxton’s bold message, as the Department of Homeland Security learned that Texas’ contentious floating wall would remain in place.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit overturned a previous order from December that mandated Texas to relocate its floating barrier on the Rio Grande, according to the Associated Press.

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Joe Messina

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