A border town in Texas becomes popular during the US election year

Sleek shipping containers line a long row, large coils of concertina wire shimmer silver in the sunlight, and orange-red buoys stand stacked on an open field, ready to be deployed as water barriers in the Rio Grande, which separates the United States and Mexico. Shelby Park is a municipal park in Eagle Pass, Texas, that has a militarized appearance due to the presence of armed Texas National Guardsmen with armored vehicles stationed at the closed entrance between barbed wire fences.With four soccer fields for locals to use along its 2.5-mile Rio Grande river bank, the park has recently come to represent the center of the country’s immigration crisis as partisan battles play out in the US general election.

 

The state’s governor, Greg Abbott, issued an order for the Texas National Guard to seize Shelby Park on January 12 and restrict federal access. Abbott declared the illegal border crossing “an invasion” and asserted that the state has the right to self-defense because US President Joe Biden has not carried out his responsibility to secure the US border. Last month, the Supreme Court ruled that Texas could not stop Border Patrol personnel from severing cable in order to get to the river and help migrants who are in need. Abbott responded by ordering further barricades and razor wire to be erected along the border river by state troops. Thus, the Republican governor effectively gained national attention during his increasingly heated dispute with the Biden administration on the state’s authority to border control.

 

The right to self-defense guaranteed by the Texas constitution was endorsed by a joint statement released by 25 out of the 26 Republican governors last month. Abbott is also backed by former president Donald Trump, a prominent contender for the Republican nomination in 2024. In an effort to “take the border back,” a convoy of demonstrators—mostly Trump supporters—headed from the East Coast to Eagle Pass and two other border communities in California and Arizona as a result of the deadlock between the state and the federal government. There were planned rallies for Saturday, but local media reports indicate that the convoy was substantially less than expected. A large number of demonstrators have identified as members of “God’s army” and claimed to be fighting “globalists.”

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