CBS News


Washington — Texas state officials this week abruptly blocked federal U.S. Border Patrol agents from entering and patrolling a public area in the border town of Eagle Pass where they typically first encounter migrants who cross the Rio Grande illegally, two U.S. officials told CBS News on Thursday.

After seizing control of Shelby Park in Eagle Pass, Texas National Guard units deployed by Republican Gov. Greg Abbott have prevented Border Patrol agents from entering the area, the federal officials said. Border Patrol has used the park in recent weeks to hold migrants in an outdoor staging area before they are transported for further processing, including last month, when illegal crossings soared to record levels.

Earlier Thursday, Texas state officials prevented Border Patrol boats from patrolling that area, one of the officials added, requesting anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the press.

“They are denying entry to Border Patrol agents to conduct our duties,” the official said, noting they are not sure “what authority (Texas officials) have over the federal government.”

Texas National Guard soldiers install additional razor wire lie along the Rio Grande on Jan. 10, 2024, in Eagle Pass, Texas.  / Credit: Getty ImagesTexas National Guard soldiers install additional razor wire lie along the Rio Grande on Jan. 10, 2024, in Eagle Pass, Texas.  / Credit: Getty Images

Texas National Guard soldiers install additional razor wire lie along the Rio Grande on Jan. 10, 2024, in Eagle Pass, Texas. / Credit: Getty Images

Under federal law, Border Patrol has a legal responsibility to process migrants on U.S. soil and determine whether to detain them, transfer them to another agency, deport them or release them into the country, pending a court hearing.

The international boundary between the U.S. and Mexico is located in the middle of the Rio Grande in Texas.

Eagle Pass mayor Rolando Salinas said the small city, which administers Shelby Park, did not give Texas state officials permission to take over the area.

“This is not something that we wanted,” Salinas said Thursday. “This is not something that we asked for as a city.”

Michael Perry, a spokesperson for the Texas Military Department, which oversees the state National Guard, said the actions taken by the state were designed to prevent illegal crossings by migrants.

“The Texas National Guard has maintained a presence with security points and temporary barrier in Shelby Park since 2021,” Perry said in a statement. “The current posture is 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.”

The seizure of Shelby Park is the latest and most brazen effort by Texas state officials to challenge the federal government’s authority on immigration. Under Abbott’s leadership, Texas has bused tens of thousands of migrants to Democratic-led cities, arrested thousands of migrant adults on trespassing charges and fortified the banks of the Rio Grande with razor wire and floating barriers.

Last month, Abbott signed a law known as SB4 that would allow Texas law enforcement officials to arrest, jail and prosecute migrants on state criminal charges of entering the country illegally. The law, which criminalizes an action already illegal at the federal level, is being challenged in federal court by the Justice Department and civil rights groups. It is set to take effect in March.

— Nicole Sganga contributed reporting.

Boeing CEO acknowledges mistake on Alaska Airlines 737

Hunter Biden leaves wild House committee meeting after surprise appearance

Hunter Biden makes surprise appearance at GOP-led House contempt hearing



Source link