Texas-Biden Border Showdown Hits a Razor Wire

Texas defies the federal government to guard its border — to the cheers of Republican officials

Written by Hudson Crozier

What’s happening: Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has put up more razor wire at the U.S.-Mexico border to stop illegal migration, ignoring a Supreme Court order that authorized border agents to remove it. Abbott’s move is another escalation in his efforts to oppose President Joe Biden’s “lawless border policies.”

Lay of the land: Texas is suing to keep the razor wire installed, which blocks Border Patrol’s access to a 2.5-mile stretch of the border at Eagle Pass. The Biden administration demands Texas remove the blockade by tomorrow.

  • What’s more: The federal government is also challenging Abbott’s new law allowing Texas to arrest and deport illegal migrants starting in March.

  • Taking sides: House Democrats want Biden to seize control of the Texas National Guard to stop Abbott. Republicans, meanwhile, are pushing a bill to ban the feds from cutting the razor wire. Several GOP governors also spoke out in support of Abbott’s resistance.

Still, none of Abbott’s strategies can stop the majority of illegal border crossings. Migrants will go to the federal government’s ports of entry to be processed and released into the country.

Why it matters: Conservatives hope to establish a broad principle that states have the right to secure their borders if a president can’t — or won’t.

  • A constitutional battle: Abbott says his actions are backed by a clause in the Constitution that allows states to defend themselves — even “engage in war” — if they are “invaded.” Abbott formally declared an “invasion” in 2022 but hasn’t significantly changed his approach to the crisis until now.