Abbot Ignores SCOTUS Ruling; Standoff at Southern Border Continues

Texas Governor Greg Abbott continues to ignore the Supreme Court’s ruling to allow federal agents to interfere at the southern border. This dissidence comes after Customs and Border Patrol cut wire placed by Texas’s National Guard. Federal authorities have been in a standoff with the Texas National Guard and State Police in Eagle Pass, Texas, where immigrants from Mexico and South America attempt to cross the border daily. Governor Abbott believes he is within his rights to ignore the Supreme Court ruling, as he blames the federal government, specifically President Biden, for breaking “ the compact between the United States and the States.” 

Critics have long scrutinized the Biden Administration for its border policies. None of what is happening at the border is new. In 2022 alone, over 2 million people were either apprehended or expelled by US border patrol. Eagle Pass, the town on Texas’s southern border central to the conflict, faced over 10,000 crossings daily in December. Three days ago, Texas declared a state of emergency due to the number of migrants coming in. While immigration is central to understanding what is happening in Texas, there is also a battle that goes back to America’s founding: the individual State versus the Federal Government. 

The United States formed around the basic tenets of federalism, wherein there is a central government. Still, states also have the right to form their own government and decide for themselves. Laws differ by state; marijuana is legal in Illinois but not in South Dakota, for example. As such, each state’s constitution is different. While the federal government can enforce federal laws, it can’t enforce state laws. 

Abbot’s decision rests on the basis that the federal government failed to enforce its laws regarding immigration. Section four of the fourth amendment states, “The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened) against domestic Violence.” As such, Abbot enacted “Article I, § 10, Clause 3…Texas’s constitutional authority to defend and protect itself.” 

The ongoing legal battle between Texas and the federal government isn’t new; Texas first filed an injunction against the government last October. In a series of appeals made to the courts by both the federal government and state government, the case finally went to the Supreme Court in January, where the Biden administration argues that if the injunction were to be vacated, then “ the court’s rationale would leave the United States at the mercy of States that could seek to force the federal government to conform the implementation of federal immigration law to varying state-law regimes.” While Texas cannot legally secede from the Union, users on social media started the #TEXIT campaign. 

While General William T. Sherman, who famously razed the South in the Civil War’s waning years, won’t be planning a campaign on Austin anytime soon, the conflict between Texas and the Biden administration is not going anywhere. As such, the lives of those affected, whether those trying to cross into the United States in dangerous conditions or those living in border towns, will be pulled in a tug-a-war of attrition between Greg Abbott and the Federal Government.