Border showdowns in Texas and Washington – National & International News – WED 31Jan2024



While TX Gov. Abbott and Pres. Biden lock horns over border enforcement, Washington Republicans in the House appear ready to sabotage a tough new border deal – at Trump’s behest.


Border showdowns in Texas and Washington

Over the last couple of weeks, tensions have been building on the Southern border in Texas, with Gov. Greg Abbott now in open defiance of federal authorities. The Supreme Court recently ruled that the Biden administration had the authority to remove razor wire that Gov. Abbott ordered placed at the border and razor buoys placed in the Rio Grande. The decision was 5-4, which was in itself remarkable since this is clearly falls under the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution, which dictates that federal law and authority trumps state authority. This is especially pertinent in matters of border security, which fall firmly under federal jurisdiction. Abbott and other governors have taken it upon themselves to impose measures at the border which violate federal law. 

Recently, Texas authorities denied federal agents access to a stretch of the border frequently used by migrants. The federal agents were responding to a call about migrants who were in danger of drowning. The Texas guards did not allow federal agents to assist, and a mother and two children, ages 8 and 10, drowned.

Abbott is now doubling down and calling for more national guard troops from other Republican-led states. There were already reservists from several states taking part in Operation Lone Star, a Texas-led border enforcement initiative. In response, 25 Republican governors have voiced support for Abbot and some may be sending more troops to assist. In addition, a group of citizens calling itself “God’s Army” is also making its way to the border. Some members of this group are openly calling for Civil War.

Meanwhile in Washington

For nearly two months, a bipartisan group of Senators has been crafting legislation that would give Biden more authority to control the border at times of heavy traffic. The deal would give Biden the authority to “shut down the border” whenever there are a high number of migrant encounters. Sources say the plan would also expand access to work permits for new arrivals. This would reduce the burden on cities to shelter and feed migrants who, under current law, cannot work to support themselves for at least the first 18 months after arriving the US. The bill would also seek to shorten the amount of time asylum seekers have to wait for hearings from years, as is currently the case, to about six months.

Both Democratic and Republican Senators were happy with the bill and were ready to send it to the House, when they hit a snag – Donald Trump. Trump came out and called on House Republicans to block the deal, presumably because he believes continued chaos at the border would improve his election changes. House Republicans are apparently heeding Trump’s call, much to the chagrin of Republican Senators who spent weeks working on the bill. 

The irony is that it was Republicans who demanded a new border enforcement deal in the first place in exchange for billions of dollars in new aid for Ukraine, requested by President Biden. It is the Republicans who now appear set to obstruct a bill that would pretty much give them everything they, and their constituents, have ever asked for in terms of border enforcement.

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