Joaquin Castro Calls On President Biden To Federalize The Texas National Guard
The unfolding legal battle over border control looms as Governor Abbott raises the stakes in the standoff.
Thaw yet? As most of Texas’ attention has been on the weather and electric grid, the situation at the border between Greg Abbott and Joe Biden continues to unfold. In an unprecedented step, Abbott has instructed the Texas National Guard to block Federal Border Patrol agents from the border. The purpose is to stop Border Patrol from processing migrants seeking asylum. Over the weekend, a woman and two children drowned as the Texas National Guard allegedly blocked Border Patrol from saving them.
Right-wing media has latched on to the story, spinning it, claiming it didn’t happen or the migrants drowned on the Mexican side of the border. One outlet claimed the Border Patrol didn’t show up until after the migrants were already drowned. Surprising no one, Governor Abbott embraced these narratives because he can deflect blame again.
It’s a lie. Personnel on the ground confirmed Abbott was lying. The reporting from Texas Public Radio on the border, particularly from Pablo De La Rosa, has been accurate and verified by multiple major national networks. Some have already accused Abbott of brewing up another “Uvalde-like” coverup.
On Sunday, the Department of Homeland Security sent Ken Paxton and the State of Texas a cease-and-desist.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is demanding that Texas state officials stop blocking Border Patrol agents from a public park in Eagle Pass, threatening legal action and calling the state’s move to seize control of the area “clearly unconstitutional.”
DHS is giving Texas until the end of the day on Wednesday to say it “will cease its efforts to block Border Patrol’s access in and around the Shelby Park area and remove all barriers to access to the U.S.-Mexico border.” Otherwise, they’ll report the matter to the Department of Justice.
Don’t expect Abbott to fold. Not yet.
Greg Abbott is not blocking illegal immigration. He’s blocking migrants from following the legal path.
Here is the current legal path for asylum seekers:
The migrant presents themself to the Border Patrol and asks for asylum.
Border Patrol processes the migrants and determines whether to detain them, transfer them to another agency, deport them, or release them into the country, pending a court hearing.
That’s the process. That’s been the process for decades. If Republicans don’t like that process, they must have Congress change it. All Republicans in Congress want to do is blame Biden, even though Republicans are in the majority of Congress.
Under Abbott’s stunt, the Texas National Guard will detain migrants, but under federal law, they have to hand them over to Border Patrol, who will still process them. But, as we’ve already seen, this stunt is at the expense of human life.
Today, Texas Democratic leaders held a press conference regarding Abbott’s latest political posturing.
Present at that meeting were leaders within the State Party, including Gilberto Hinojosa and Texas Congresspeople Joaquin Castro and Veronica Escobar. They each took their turn expressing their outrage at Abbott’s border action and speaking on the illegality and unconstitutionalness of Abbott’s actions. Congressman Joaquin Castro called for President Biden to federalize the Texas National Guard.
Congressman Castro has been a strong voice for Texas in DC and often spoke up against Abbott’s inhumane stunts on the border.
What are the implications of Biden federalizing the Texas National Guard?
It’s not an unprecedented act. There are several examples in history when this has been done.
President Eisenhower federalized the Arkansas National Guard to enforce the desegregation of Little Rock Central High School.
President Kennedy federalized the Mississippi National Guard to quell riots and enforce the court-ordered integration of the University of Mississippi.
There was also the infamous George Wallace Standoff, where Wallace physically blocked the entrance to the University of Alabama to prevent two Black students from enrolling.
The US Constitution establishes the federal government’s authority over the militia (which includes the National Guard) in Article I, Section 8, known as the Militia Clauses. It gives Congress the power to “call forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions.”
Federalizing the Texas National Guard would shift operational control from the state to the federal government. This means the Guard would no longer act under the orders of Governor Abbott but would instead follow directives from the President or federally appointed commanders.
This would undoubtedly end Abbott’s shenanigans, but it would certainly escalate the tensions between Abbott and the federal government. There will be lawsuits, and we should expect Abbott to do something else extreme.
We’re in uncharted waters.
We must keep asking, “What’s Abbott’s end game?”
This legal battle will be not only a test of constitutional principles but also a reflection of the deeply polarized political landscape in America. Democrats and left-leaning voters would view federalizing the Texas National Guard as a necessary step to uphold federal law and protect the rights of asylum seekers. In contrast, Republicans will see it as an infringement on state sovereignty and a federal overreach.
This will only further inflame the culture wars.
Abbott will pursue other avenues to assert state authority, potentially involving the Texas State Guard or other state resources. This tit-for-tat escalation will only worsen the situation.
For now, Abbott has until the end of the day tomorrow to back the Texas National Guard down. The question we all have to wait for is, “What will he do next?” Stay tuned.
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