According to two U.S. officials on Thursday, Texas state officials this week abruptly stopped federal U.S. Border Patrol agents from patrolling and visiting a public area near the border town of Eagle Pass, where they usually first come across migrants who cross the Rio Grande illegally.
Federal officials reported that Texas National Guard troops sent by Republican Governor Greg Abbott had taken control of Shelby Park near Eagle Pass and were preventing Border Patrol agents from visiting the area. Including this month, when illegal crossings surged to record levels, Border Patrol has been using the park in recent weeks to keep migrants in an outdoor staging area until they are moved for further processing.
One of the officials noted that earlier on Thursday, Texas state officials stopped Border Patrol boats from patrolling that region. They asked to remain anonymous since they were not allowed to speak to the media.
As mandated by federal law, Border Patrol is legally tasked with processing migrants who enter the nation and making decisions about their detention, transfer to another agency, deportation, or release pending legal proceedings.
Criminal Count On Illegal Immigrants
In the centre of Texas’s Rio Grande lies the international border between the United States and Mexico. Eagle Pass mayor Rolando Salinas said the little city, which maintains Shelby Park, did not give Texas state officials authorization to take over the park.
Abbott signed SB4, a measure last month that gives Texas law enforcement the authority to detain, arrest, and prosecute immigrants on state criminal counts of illegal immigration. The Justice Department and civil rights organisations are contesting the statute in federal court because it criminalises a conduct that is already prohibited by federal law. It is scheduled to go into force in March.