Governor Abbott deploys Texas National Guard to patrol border, supplanting US Border Patrol

Since Wednesday, Governor Greg Abbott has deployed armed Texas National Guard troops and vehicles to seize control of Shelby Park in the city of Eagle Pass. The National Guard troops are physically blocking US Border Patrol police from using the park, which borders the Rio Grande River, as a staging area for processing immigrants coming into the US.

Guardsmen watch as immigrants try to cross the Rio Grande from Mexico into the U.S. near in Eagle Pass, Texas, Tuesday, July 11, 2023. [AP Photo/Eric Gay]

The Biden administration has called the move an attempt to “politicize the border.” White House spokesperson Angelo Hernandez said, “Governor Abbott continues his extreme political stunts that not only seek to demonize and dehumanize people, but that also make it harder and more dangerous for Border Patrol to do their jobs.”

This statement is in line with efforts of the Democrats and Biden to cast the Republicans’ provocative agitation against the supposed “open border” policy of the federal government as a boon to “illegal aliens” and the drug cartels, by blocking White House proposals to allocate billions of additional dollars to further militarize the border.

Abbott’s move is a major escalation of his systematic assertion of the state government’s authority over the border in violation of the US Constitution, which explicitly reserves to the federal government the management of US borders. His so-called “Operation Lone Star” is the spearhead of a fascistic and racist campaign to demonize migrants, incite the far right against Biden and the Democrats and promote the presidential campaign of Donald Trump.

In recent months, Abbott has unilaterally placed buoys in the Rio Grande and strung razor wire along the border in order to maim refugees and deter them from traversing the river and reaching the US shore. In December, he enacted a new state law, SB4, that empowers state and local police to arrest people “suspected” of being “illegal aliens,” in violation of federal law. This week, he boasted of having bused over 100,000 migrants to Democratic-controlled “sanctuary cities.”

Immigrants attempt to climb over concertina wire after they crossed the Rio Grande and entered the U.S. from Mexico, Saturday, September 23, 2023, in Eagle Pass, Texas. [AP Photo/Eric Gay]

On Friday, the Biden Justice Department filed an addition to a previously filed appeal to the US Supreme Court of a Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling enjoining federal border officers from taking down razor wire strung by the Texas state government. The new filing argued that the state National Guard’s seizure of Shelby Park blocked Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the Border Patrol from apprehending, detaining and processing immigrants crossing the border. The Justice Department has separately appealed to the Supreme Court to allow federal agents to remove buoys placed in the Rio Grande by Abbott and to overturn SB4.

One part of the Department of Justice’s appeal to the Supreme Court to overturn the Fifth Circuit’s ruling on razor wire speaks to the inhumane and sadistic character of the attacks on migrants and refugees. The filing states that Texas’s razor wire layers are so dense as to take “10 to 30 minutes to cut through.” It adds that “by the time a medical emergency is apparent, it may be too late to render life-saving aid.” In other words, the razor wire may be killing refugees trying to reach the US.

The National Border Patrol Council (NBPC), the union representing the Border Patrol police, issued a statement Friday supporting Abbott’s illegal usurpation of the Border Patrol by the state National Guard. The union is affiliated with the American Federation of Government Employees, which is part of the AFL-CIO. It supported Trump for president in both 2016 and 2020. Its president, Brandon Judd, is a fascistic opponent of the Biden administration who is constantly featured on right-wing media.

Judd said in a statement: “His seizing control of Shelby Park allows our agents to deploy to trouble spots that experience high numbers of gotaways. Governor Abbott’s actions should be seen as a force multiplier.”

Judd is an advocate of the antisemitic “Great Replacement Theory,” which asserts that Jewish “globalists” who control the Democratic Party are deliberately encouraging a flood of immigrants into the US to overwhelm white Christian Americans and permanently shift the electorate in favor of the Democratic Party.

The NBPC wrote on X: “Biden is intentionally flooding the country with millions of illegal aliens.” Judd publicly touted the Great Replacement Theory line during an April 2022 interview with anchor Bill Hemmer on Fox News. He said: “I believe that they’re trying to change the demographics of the electorate; that’s what I believe they’re doing.”

Republican Congressman Chip Roy of Texas, a leading member of the fascistic House Freedom Caucus, tweeted Friday: “The Governor has my full support to go as far as is necessary (from a legal perspective) to secure Texas’ border.”

Members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, from left, Rep. Dan Bishop, D-N.C., Rep. Andy Ogles, R-Tenn., Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, and Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa. [AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite]

Roy issued a press release on January 2 in which he openly broached the possibility of Texas seceding from the United States. He wrote: “My fellow Texans rightly ask whether Texas and similarly minded Americans should remain part of a federal government forsaking their well-being, safety, and security in violation of the compact under which we entered the union.”