A municipal park in the city of Eagle Pass, Texas, United States, has become the focus of debates about immigration in the country and a dispute between powers: on the one hand, the Texas government led by Greg Abbott. And the Republican Party, and on the other hand, the federal government led by Joe Biden.
Shelby Park is located directly on the edge of the Rio Grande River, which separates Mexico from the United States.
Last week, Texas National Guard troops prevented Border Patrol agents, an agency of the US federal government, from accessing the place through which migrants entering the country illegally pass.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott, a Republican, says he is doing so to ensure the border is better protected with razor wire.
Migrants who want to reach American territory must cross a river and then a fence. With a wire, it is impossible to cross from one side to the other. If someone got sick on the river, agents on the American side wouldn't be able to help.
The case was referred to the Supreme Court, which ordered patrol officers to enter the park area and remove the wire. But this decision is temporary and not final, and therefore there are legal ways not to adhere to it, says constitutional lawyer David Cole, from Texas.
After the Supreme Court's decision, Texas withdrew part of its forces from the site, but they remained there nonetheless.
The lawyer says it is unlikely that there will be any kind of confrontation between Texas and US forces. This is because the issue has become judicial and the impasse must be resolved through further legal action – such as fines or, in extreme cases, the arrest of the governor.
However, Cowell says, the situation is tense, and in this circumstance there may be a disagreement between the forces.
The border between the United States and Mexico becomes a subject of dispute between the Texas administration and Biden
State governors led by Republican Party politicians say that the US government is making no effort to prevent immigrants from entering US territory illegally.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott is trying to convince the Supreme Court that states are entitled to a greater role in protecting the nation's borders. He stated in a statement that President Joe Biden refuses to implement laws that prevent immigrants from entering the country illegally, and that in this circumstance the states have the authority to defend themselves guaranteed by the Constitution.
Constitutional attorney Cole says the Texas government is using a provision of the Constitution in a questionable way.
Under the Constitution, there is no doubt about who is responsible for immigration policy: the federal government.
But there's an article that says if there's an invasion, countries can take action. The Texas state government is trying to say that the United States is being invaded by immigrants.
Cole states that the Constitution was written shortly after United States independence, in the 18th century, and that at that time there was a fear that United Kingdom forces would invade American territory from Canada. In other words, the meaning of invasion in the text of the Constitution is not the entry of immigrants, but the entry of a foreign army into the country.
If the final decision goes in favor of Texas, the lawyer says, “all the other states will say it's an invasion, and that will be a big problem.”
The Biden administration claims that the right to regulate the flow of migrants belongs to the federal government and that preventing federal agents from entering the park is risky, because it is a measure that puts the lives of people trying to reach American territory at risk.
On January 16, near the park, a mother and two daughters drowned in the river while trying to cross into the United States. To the US government, the Texas Governor's initiatives are cruel, inhumane and dangerous.
The US Department of Homeland Security said the governor's actions conflict with the authority of the Border Patrol and are an attempt to regulate the federal government.
Political issue versus legal issue
“This is a big political issue for the Republican Party, because it's important in Texas and it also aligns with what Donald Trump is calling for in his campaign, which is the fear of invasion and that people can't defend themselves,” Cole says.
It is noteworthy that Governor Abbott's speech in public and in court is completely different. “In public he talks about the invasion, but in court he just doesn't use this argument. In public he talks about the invasion, but in court he just doesn't use this argument. So, there is a legal world and there is a political world, and they are different.