Kimberly P. Yow

Kimberly P. Yow

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White House accuses Abbott of trying to ‘politicize the border’ after Texas seizes park along Rio Grande

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The White House is taking aim at Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and accusing him of trying to “politicize the border” after the state this week seized control of a park near the southern border and has blocked Border Patrol from entering.

“Governor Abbott continues his extreme political stunts that not only seek to demonize and dehumanize people, but that also make it harder and more dangerous for Border Patrol to do their job,” a spokesperson said in a statement on Friday.

The Texas National Guard seized Shelby Park in Eagle Pass, Texas, on Thursday and set up razor wire and fences to block off the area along the Rio Grande River. Eagle Pass has been one of the busiest spots for migrant crossings in the three-year border crisis, and Shelby Park has been a key staging area for processing during the enormous migrant surges the state has seen.

DOJ RENEWS SCOTUS PUSH TO ACT AFTER TEXAS SEIZES BORDER AREAS, BLOCKS BORDER PATROL FROM ENTERING 

“The Texas Military Dept said the move was 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.” Customs and Border Protection later confirmed that it had been blocked from entering the area, and the DOJ immediately complained to the Supreme Court about the move.

Texas has been feuding with the federal government over border security, with Texas saying that it is stepping in to solve a vacuum left by the federal government and its “open border” policies. The Biden administration has claimed that Texas is interfering with the operations of the federal government.

The Biden administration was recently blocked by an appeals court from cutting or damaging razor wire set up by Texas, and it asked the Supreme Court to intervene as a result. Meanwhile, it has sued Texas over its establishment of buoys along the Rio Grande and a recent anti-illegal immigration law, S.B. 4 that allows for state and local police to arrest illegal immigrants.

“Whether it is leaving migrants on the side of the road in the dead of winter, installing razor wire to make Border Patrol’s job more dangerous, promoting extreme and unconstitutional laws like S.B. 4, or his latest actions in Eagle Pass, Governor Abbott has repeatedly proven that he is not interested in solutions and only seeks to politicize the border,” the White House statement said. 

TEXAS SEIZES CONTROL OF PARK, BLOCKS BORDER PATROL FROM ENTERING, AS PART OF ANTI-ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION EFFORTS

“The President has been clear that we need adequate resources and policy changes, and that our immigration system is broken. That is why on his first day in office he presented Congress with a comprehensive immigration reform plan, and that is why he is working to find a bipartisan agreement with Congress that includes funding and meaningful reforms,” they added.

Texas, meanwhile, has stood by its policies and said that it intends to continue with them. 

“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. Instead of enforcing federal immigration laws, the Biden administration allows unfettered access for Mexican cartels to smuggle people into our country,” Abbott spokesperson Renae Eze said on Thursday. 

BIDEN LAWSUIT OVER TEXAS IMMIGRATION LAW LATEST ATTEMPT TO STIFLE STATE’S MOVES TO STOP ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION

In a separate Supreme Court filing, responding to one filed by the DOJ, Texas also argued that Border Patrol had ceased large-scale operations there and had left the area abandoned as large-scale crossings had not taken place for some weeks.

“Leaving the area abandoned created a risk to anyone who might try to climb over obstacles that have been in place for years and also invited tampering with Texas’s equipment stored at the Park. To ensure the safety of recreational users as well as aliens and to ensure the integrity of the State’s equipment, Governor Abbott exercised his authority under Texas law to commandeer the Park,” the filing said, also saying it had offered to help Border Patrol retrieve equipment and supplies.

Fox News’ Bill Melugin and Bill Mears contributed to this report.

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