Watchman:Texas Seizes Control Of Border City Park, Escalating War Against Illegal Immigration, Texas Has Had Enough! You Go Greg Abbott


In its latest assertion of sovereignty and responsibility for securing its border with Mexico, the once and future Republic of Texas has seized control of a 47-acre park in the city of Eagle Pass, which has been a major avenue of illegal immigration. What's more, the Texans are barring US Border Patrol agents and watercraft from the property, which they've used as a staging area for processing migrants.

"They are denying entry to Border Patrol agents to conduct our duties," a federal official told CBS News, who wondered "what authority (Texas officials) have over the federal government." Texans are increasingly wondering about the opposite question.

Via an emergency declaration from Governor Greg Abbott, Shelby Park, which abuts the Rio Grande, is now controlled by the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) and National Guard units. Eagle Pass Mayor Rolando Salinas, Jr told reporters he learned about the move just shortly before it happened, via a phone call from a DPS official who informed him the state was taking "full control" of the recreational park "indefinitely."

"This is something that the city was not expecting," he said. "So, right now, there's military personnel and they put gates in Shelby Park blocking access from the public into the park that belongs to the city." Apprehensions at the site have eased from thousands per day in December, down to 400 or 500 recently -- still a substantial number -- as Mexico has increased enforcement on its side.

"Texas will continue to deploy Texas National Guard soldiers, DPS troopers, and more barriers, utilizing every tool and strategy to respond to President Biden's ongoing border crisis," said Abbott spokeswoman Renae Eze on Thursday.

Texas National Guard soldiers place razor wire along the Rio Grande in Eagle Pass (Getty Images via CBS News)

Texas has been steadily ramping up its efforts to control its southern frontier and divert the massive flow of migrants who come not only from the Americas but Africa and elsewhere. The state has shipped more than 100,000 of them to northern, Democrat-run sanctuary cities.

In December, Abbott signed three border security bills. In addition to funding additional border barriers and increasing sentences for migrant-smugglers, the package also broke ground by making it a state crime to illegally enter the Lone Star State from a foreign nation. The Biden Justice Department has sued Texas to prevent that law from being enforced; it goes into effect in March. The White House is also battling Abbott over his installation of razor wire and floating barriers in Eagle Pass.

On Thursday evening, Abbott tweeted, "As caravans of migrants are moving through Mexico toward the U.S. border, we are making clear that Texas will be a tough place to cross."

A Humvee parked alongside a row of concertina wire at Shelby Park in Eagle Pass (Jay Janner/Austin American-Statesman)

Eagle Pass lies along the path of "totality" for April's highly-anticipated total solar eclipse. A festival is scheduled to take place in the park, and the city has spent $1 million preparing for it, according to the mayor.

This weekend, the park was to host a ceremony memorializing migrants who died trying to enter the United States in 2023. The Border Vigil, a group of Eagle Pass residents who oppose Abbott's border tactics, had placed more than 700 wooden crosses in the park ahead of the event. They issued a statement condemning the park seizure:

“The Texas Governor's emergency declaration and takeover of Shelby Park, where the Cross Memorial stands as a tribute to the unnecessary deaths on our border, is a cynical and cruel attempt to divert attention from his own failures and to undermine the efforts of the Mexican authorities and civil society to address the humanitarian crisis at the border.”

The park has already been the focus of a major controversy in the city of 28,000 people. At the request of a state prosecutor, Mayor Salinas in July declared the park to be private property, which cleared the way for DPS to arrest migrants for trespassing. After an uproar from locals angered over losing access to the city's principal park, the city reversed the declaration.

With Abbott's move this week, it's safe to say the park is firmly back to being a no-trespass zone...but for how long?


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