Texas’ Standoff With The Federal Government Over Border Security

The consequences of this constitutional crisis could still reverberate much further than the Rio Grande and last much longer than the week’s news cycle.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott declared on Wednesday that the federal government had broken its compact with the States by refusing to follow its own border security policies. In response, he pledged to “hold the line” by continuing to put up razor wire barriers despite the Supreme Court ruling that the federal government can dismantle them. At the time of writing, the Texas National Guard is still blocking the federal government from taking down the wire at Eagle Pass, and they have other States’ support.

25 Republican Governors have rallied to Texas’ side, with some observers at home and especially abroad speculating that another Civil War might be on the horizon, though these concerns are totally misplaced. To be sure, the ongoing standoff represents one of the greatest challenges by the States to federal rule in decades, but the worst that could likely happen is low-level but lethal clashes and federalizing the Texas National Guard. None of these would represent a Civil War in any real sense of the word.

Nevertheless, they’d still exacerbate partisan divisions between liberalglobalist Democrats and conservative-nationalist members of the Republicans’ MAGA faction, with “Republicans In Name Only” (RINOs) aligning with the Democrats on most issues at the end of the day with few exceptions. Most Americans on both sides are seriously concerned about border security, however, so any dramatic moves by the Biden Administration to unseal Eagle Pass could backfire ahead of November’s elections.

A group of migrants wades through the Rio Grande under the watch of Texas National Guard members near the riverbank at Shelby Park in Eagle Pass on Jan. 19, 2024. Texas has closed off Shelby Park, cutting access to federal agents to part of the Texas-Mexico border, according to a federal legal filing. The situation is escalating tensions between the Biden administration and Gov. Greg Abbott.

Backing down would be the best option, but the attention that this standoff has generated over the past few days might pressure them to make a dramatic move anyhow out of the misguided intent to “save face” by reasserting the federal government’s power, thus making the aforesaid scenario a fait accompli. Making matters more interesting, The Economist just warned that “the border could cost Biden the election” unless he agrees to border security and immigration reform like the Republicans demand.

The consequences of this constitutional crisis could thus reverberate much further than the Rio Grande and last much longer than the week’s news cycle. The Democrats are already trying to spin their way out of this mess that they got themselves in due to their ideologically driven desire to “demographically re-engineer” the US for political reasons as touched upon in this earlier analysis here. According to them, the Republicans want to perpetuate this crisis in order to help Trump, but that’s not true.

For those who aren’t aware or forgot due to everything that’s happened over the past few months, the Republicans made their support of more Ukraine aid conditional on comprehensive border security and immigration reform, yet the Democrats can’t agree to this for the abovementioned political reasons. It’s therefore the Democrats that are perpetuating this crisis precisely for the purpose of pressuring the Republicans to agree to a half-hearted and largely superficial deal in order to free up funds for Ukraine.

As The Economist warned, however, this policy risks backfiring since average Americans are seriously concerned about border security and want something tangible to be done right away. Backing down in the face of Texas’ challenge could make the Biden Administration look weak, while a dramatic move could make it look authoritarian, with both running the risk of on-the-fence Democrat-leaning voters defecting to Robert Kennedy in November out of protest and thus handing the election to Trump.

Regardless of whatever the Biden Administration does for extricating itself from this constitutional crisis, it’s highly unlikely to lead to a Civil War, but over-anxious and ill-intentioned commentators at home and especially abroad have self-interested reasons in wildly speculating that it will. Average Americans would do well to tune out those crazies and provocateurs no matter how reliable their insight might have earlier been on other issues since the greater good isn’t advanced by such fearmongering.

Source: the author’s blog

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