Turbulence in Texas: A Federal and State Showdown

Texas Governor Greg Abbott (he/him, R) is currently caught in numerous legal battles with the Biden administration following his enactment of unapproved efforts aimed at decreasing the number of undocumented immigrants crossing into the U.S. through the Texas-Mexico border. In December 2023, Abbott signed Senate Bill 4 (SB4); the bill attempts to discourage unlawful entrance into the country by making it a state crime to enter Texas illegally from a foreign country (Reuters). The law will go into action in March 2024 and give state law enforcement the power to arrest undocumented immigrants and judges the power to order their removal. Those who are not in compliance with the new law and do not leave on the judge’s order can face up to 20 years in prison (Reuters). The Biden administration has sued, attempting to nullify SB4, arguing it interferes with the exclusive power of the federal government.  

In a combative effort toward undocumented migrants, Texas has also placed barbed wire fencing along a 30 mile stretch of land near Eagle Pass, Texas. Texas has filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration, alleging the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents are destroying the fencing placed along the stretch. The Biden administration has since stated that the fencing interferes with the U.S. Border Patrol agents’ ability to reach migrants in distress (Reuters). On a similar front, Texas is also defending its right to utilize buoys as water barriers in the Rio Grande River against another lawsuit filed by the Biden administration. In addition, the Texas National Guard has gotten involved, with Abbott deploying troops in Shelby Park, a park located in Eagle Pass, Texas.  

In response to the festering conflict between Texas and the Biden administration, a convoy was organized in protest to the strike downs of the administration. Former Alaskan Governor, Republican Sarah Palin (she/her), attended the convoy along with other elected Texas officials (CBS). The Take our Border Back convoy was organized in protest of the federal government’s intervention with Texas’ attempts at combating the number of undocumented immigrants. Tensions between Texas and the federal government remain on the rise, as states such as Arkansas, Georgia, and Louisiana have pledged their support for Texas’ efforts.  

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