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Texas Governor Abbott Takes Control of Eagle Pass Border Park Without Prior Notice to Address Migrant Crisis, Mayor Alleges

Texas Gov. Abbott seizes Eagle Pass border park without warning to combat migrant crisis, mayor claims

On Wednesday, control of a public park in a border city grappling with illegal immigration was assumed by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, as asserted by Eagle Pass Mayor Rolando Salinas on Thursday. The state, according to Salinas, seized Shelby Park and hastily erected fences, catching citizens and even federal border agents off guard.

This action was carried out as part of Abbott’s emergency declaration to address the migrant crisis along the border. Shelby Park, located along the Rio Grande, has witnessed an influx of migrants making perilous crossings via the river. Salinas vehemently expressed the city’s disagreement with this decision, emphasizing it was not sought nor welcomed.

As of Wednesday night, fencing had already restricted access, with military trucks stationed within the premises, as captured in video footage.

New York Post Texas Gov. Abbott seizes Eagle Pass border park without warning to combat migrant

As per Salinas, Eagle Pass officials were informed by Texas’ Department of Public Safety that the 50-acre public park was being seized by the state under a disaster declaration—an authority previously utilized by Texas officials in border-related matters.

The state, however, failed to provide a specific timeframe for the assumption of control over the park. This lack of disclosure leaves a multitude of events and festivals scheduled for the spring in limbo, with the possibility of cancellations looming.

Access, Mayor Salinas emphasized, will be denied, clarifying that this restriction isn’t imposed by the city of Eagle Pass but rather by the state using its emergency declaration.

Remarkably, this abrupt impediment has affected even US Border Patrol agents, with Texas National Guard units obstructing their patrols in Shelby Park. The park, in recent weeks, served as an outdoor staging area for migrants awaiting transportation for further processing.

The denial of entry to Border Patrol agents prompted uncertainty about the extent of authority Texas officials wield over the federal government, according to an official. The Texas National Guard’s actions have raised questions about their jurisdiction.

Despite inquiries about the lack of prior warning, a response from Abbott’s spokesperson, Renae Eze, did not address this specific concern. The spokesperson, however, asserted Texas’ commitment to deploying resources and barriers to respond to what is described as President Biden’s ongoing border crisis.

Texas governor seizes public park on border to counter illegal immigration

Questions directed to the Texas Military Department, by the Department of Public Safety, regarding the notice provided to the city of Eagle Pass, remain unanswered.

The Texas National Guard, as indicated by a department spokesperson, has maintained a presence in Shelby Park since 2021, implementing security points and temporary barriers. The current posture is described as preparation for potential future surges in illegal immigrant activity, aiming to restrict access for organizations facilitating such crossings in the park and the broader Eagle Pass area.

Attempts to reach Salinas for comment were not immediately successful. The mayor, expressing discontent over the state’s takeover of city land, affirmed his pursuit of every legal avenue to contest this action.

In questioning the timing of the takeover, Salinas pointed out the recent decline in illegal crossings following increased security measures and deportations by Mexico. Arrests for illegal crossings from Mexico into the US dropped to approximately 2,500 on Monday, a stark reduction from the over 10,000 recorded on multiple days in December, according to US authorities.

Salinas asserted that daily apprehensions now range from 400 to 500. Despite the recent decline, Eagle Pass had experienced a surge in illegal immigration just last month, leading Abbott to renew an emergency declaration, citing an ongoing and imminent threat of disaster posed by the unlawful crossings along the Texas–Mexico border.

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