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Texas Takes Control of Part of the U.S. Mexico Border

In the past couple of years, illegal border crossings have become a big issue for the United States. A majority of these border crossings have happened in the state of Texas. The Biden Administration and Texas’s state government have had different ideas on handling the situation, leading to disputes and arguments. However, on Wednesday, January 10th, 2024, Texas National Guard Troops blocked U.S. border agents from placing mobile surveillance equipment inside Shelby Park. Texas National Guardsmen also blocked border patrol agents from entering a 2.5-mile area in Eagle Pass Texas, along the Rio Grande River separating Mexico and the U.S. Around the same time, Texas authorities began placing razor wire, fencing off gates to restrict access to the park, and closing a nearby golf course. Texas National Guardsmen also guard the border now. The Texas government has taken control of part of the U.S.-Mexico border from the federal government. This move by the Texas government has significantly intensified tensions between the federal government and the Texas government since the start of the disputes. This move can and has led to some problems. The conflict of state versus the federal government hasn’t been this tense since the American Civil War.

Unfortunately, since the area was closed off, on Friday, January 12th, two children and a woman drowned attempting to cross the Rio Grande River. Border patrol agents were also informed that two migrants were in distress on the U.S. side of the river. The border patrol attempted to enter the restricted area but were stopped by Texas Guardsmen. The guards said they were not allowed to grant border patrol agents access to the border even in emergencies. After the drownings, the Biden administration submitted a filing to the Supreme Court about the details of the drownings. According to a statement by the Biden administration and CNN, “The drownings – as well as the rescue of two other migrants on the US side of the Rio Grande by Mexican authorities – “underscore that Texas is firm in its continued efforts to exercise complete control of the border and land” in the area “and to block Border Patrol’s access to the border even in emergency circumstances” (CNN).

 After looking at the details of the drownings, the Supreme Court voted 5-4 granting border patrol agents the authority to take down razor wire set up by the Texas government. After these events, The U.S. Department of Homeland Security set a date and deadline for when Texas must end its blockade and allow border patrol agents to resume operations. However, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office released a statement saying “Texas will not surrender.” according to CNN. Paxton’s office also wrote a 3-page letter to the Department of Homeland Security saying that some of the federal government’s claims were false. One of these claims included Paxton saying, “And on the night the three migrants drowned, “TMD (Texas Military Department) did not prevent U.S. Border Patrol from entering Shelby Park to attempt a water rescue of migrants in distress,” Paxton wrote (CNN). On Wednesday, January 24th, the Texas governor issued a statement accusing Biden of failing to fulfill his constitutional duty to protect the nation’s borders. Texas authorities also began arresting illegal immigrants and charging them with criminal trespassing charges. These actions have resulted in many migrants being jailed and harmed in the process.

2023 was the worst year for illegal immigration. An estimated 2.45 million immigrants crossed illegally into the U.S. according to the Committee on Homeland Security. There are an estimated 17 million undocumented and illegal immigrants in the United States affecting the U.S. economy and everyday life. One effect of these illegal immigrants is effects on the economy. Illegal immigration causes drains of public funds for things like education, healthcare, and other services for Americans. During 1990, the U.S. budget for border security was only $262.65 million. Compare that to the plan for 2024, the U.S. will use $4.9 billion to keep the border secure. $4.9 billion can be used to improve roads, healthcare, education, help the poor and homeless, and so much more. The money used to secure the border isn’t even working though. 2024 and 2023 saw the most illegal immigrants illegally crossing into the U.S. 2023 and 2024 were also the years where the U.S. had the highest budget to secure the border. Even though the U.S. had so much money to secure the border, the highest record of immigrants still managed to cross. Now another scary effect of illegal immigrants is that they comprise the nation’s security. If anyone can just simply get into the country, that means terrorists can too, and this is how drugs and illegal weapons get into the U.S This can be extremely dangerous as these potential terrorists can just hide with all the illegal immigrants. Another effect illegal immigrants have on the U.S. is crowding and overflowing communities. With the amount of illegal immigrants entering the U.S., they overcrowd classrooms, neighborhoods, and more. To make room for these immigrants, the U.S. is forced to use precious natural resources to make room to accommodate these immigrants.

But why do immigrants want to enter the U.S., especially illegally? Well, almost all immigrants say they come to the United States for better opportunities for themselves and their children and more rights. Many immigrants come to the U.S. for better job opportunities, education, a better future for their children, and more rights. However, some immigrants say they also come to the U.S. to join family or to escape dangerous situations in their home countries. According to Fernando Vacas, an 8th grader here at Rio, when asked why he thinks people illegally enter the U.S Fernando said, “Well, there are dangerous gangs in Mexico and some people just have the motivation to illegally enter instead of coming in legally and waiting a couple of years.” These immigrants have good intentions of coming to the United States and they don’t meant to cause any harm and even though the affect the economy, they also benefit it by contributing to the economy. Immigrants make up 20% of the workforce so they work and give to the country. These immigrant. But why else do immigrants illegally enter the United States? Well, there are a couple of reasons. For one, the way the U.S. Immigration system is set up limits how many people are eligible to receive visas allowing them to legally enter the U.S. It becomes especially hard for low-income workers to apply for the few visas which are a majority of immigrants. So illegally entering is a lot of people’s only option. Another reason people enter illegally is because of the time it takes to legally enter the United States. To enter the U.S. on a work visa can take up to 3 years while a marriage visa can take up to 17 months. But other factors like visa preference, demand, and a person’s nationality can extend those times even further. So for many people wishing for a better life in the United States, illegally crossing borders is the only option to make those dreams come true.

Since the start of the border disputes, Texas has half jokingly half seriously talked about seceding from the union. However, Texas has been getting serious about this. Texas issued a bill, H.B. 3569, which allowed Texans to vote on whether or not the state should consider the possibility of independence and plans to present to legislators if Texans want to be free. This essentially means that Texas has created a bill that would allow Texans to vote on whether to secede from the U.S. or not and plans to. This can be a very serious issue for the United States. However, Texas can’t secede. In 1869, the case of Texas v. White proved Texas and no state could secede from the United States. Before the Civil War Texas was issued 10 million dollars in bonds. Texas wasn’t able to sell all these bonds though and they sold 136 of these to George W. White and John Chiles. However, Texas had said that the bonds were invalid because they were issued during a period when Texas was not part of the U.S. So White sued the State of Texas saying that Texas had not legally seceded from the Union and so they still owed money. The case was taken up to the Supreme Court and in a 5-3 ruling, the court sided with White saying that Texas had not legally seceded from the Union. But another key part of the ruling was that no state had the constitutional power to secede from the United States. So today even if Texas said they would secede from the Union, they technically can’t and they saying that has no legal action.

So now we have a big picture. Texas and the Federal government have been fighting over the border and its issues. We know that Texas took control of part of the border to try and secure it on its own. This move has caused criticism and arguments. We also know why Immigrants want to cross the U.S. because of tough living situations or better opportunities, and why a lot of people would rather try crossing illegally than be registered as a citizen and receive a visa. We also know about Texas’s plan to potentially secede and how they can’t. In all, the disputes between Texas and the Government aren’t over and it’s unclear where the situation will escalate to but we will just have to see. It is currently unsure whether the issue will escalate or if Texas and the

Courtesy of ABC

Federal government will come to  a solution.

Courtesy of CNN
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