Texas National Guard Just Seized Control of a Key Migrant Crossing—and DOJ Isn’t Happy

The DOJ filed a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court challenging Texas’ actions, which included erecting new razor wire and fencing.
Coils of razor wire installed by the Texas National Guard as well as a floating barrier lie along the Rio Grande on January 10, 2024 in Eagle Pass, Texas.(John Moore/Getty Images)

The fight between Texas and the Biden Administration over the border ramped up this week, intensifying the legal battle over who calls the shots on immigration enforcement: State government, or federal government. 

This week the Texas National Guard and state troopers seized control of a 50-acre public park along the Rio Grande in the city of Eagle Pass—which became the epicenter for unauthorized border crossings last year—and blocked federal Border Patrol agents from accessing the area. 


In a post on X, the union representing Border Patrol agents applauded the move, saying that Texas Gov. Greg Abbott was “enhancing” Border Patrol operations by freeing up agents to patrol other areas. 

But the Biden Administration doesn’t feel the same way. Overnight, the DOJ filed a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court challenging Texas’ actions, which included erecting new razor wire and fencing surrounding Shelby Park and blocking access to a boat ramp that Border Patrol uses to patrol that particular stretch of the Rio Grande, significantly limiting its ability to survey that section of the border. 

"Border Patrol can no longer access or view this stretch of the border… Texas has effectively prevented Border Patrol from monitoring the border to determine whether a migrant requires the emergency aid that the Court of Appeals expressly excepted,” the DOJ asserted. 

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Shelby Park has become the staging area for the Texas National Guard and Texas Department of Public Safety officers for Abbott’s “Operation Lone Star,” which included installing razor wire along the border. 

The showdown over the razor wire is the latest chapter in the broader fight between Texas and the federal government over who is in charge of securing the border.  Texas says that the Biden Administration is enabling unauthorized border crossings by cutting the wire. The Administration says that the wire makes it harder for Border patrol agents to reach migrants while they cross the river. 

Abbott was recently criticized for comments he made during an Jan. 5 interview with Dana Loesch, former NRA spokesperson turned right-wing pundit. “The only thing that we’re not doing is we’re not shooting people who come across the border, because of course, the Biden administration would charge us with murder,” said Abbott. 

Eagle Pass Mayor Rolando Salinas, a Democrat who has been very critical of what he’s characterized as the Biden Administration’s lack of support on border issues, is not thrilled about developments at the park. 

He posted a video this week to Facebook, saying the Texas Department of Public Safety informed him on Wednesday that, under an emergency declaration from Abbott, it was taking “full control and custody” of Shelby Park. 

“This is not a decision we agreed to, this is not something we wanted, not something we asked for as a city,” Salinas said.