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The Administration threatens to prosecute the dispute over Shelby Park and blames Texas for the deaths of three immigrants

Governor Greg Abbott argued that the drownings in the Rio Grande were due to Biden's ‘Open Border Magnet.’

Texas Shelby Park


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The Administration threatened Texas with legal action - and to "consider all other options available" - if it does not return control of Shelby Park and its surroundings to the Border Patrol (BP).

Last week, the Texas National Guard took control of the park's nearly 50 acres on the banks of the Rio Grande in Eagle Pass. They also erected barbed wire and fences. State authorities justified the measure by accusing federal agents of allowing illegal crossings. Or as Governor Greg Abbott said: "We are making clear that Texas will be a tough place to cross."

In Sunday's letter, the Department of Homeland Security,(DHS), told Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton that the takeover of the park is unconstitutional and that it is obstructing the operations of the federal government, as mandated by law. It urges him not only to allow access to the the Border Patrol's designated area but also to remove any barrier that prevents access.

"The U.S. Constitution tasks the federal government with regulating immigration and securing the Nations borders," DHS lawyer Jonathan Meyer wrote in the letter first published by CBS. The lawyer also explained that Texas only allows federal agents to access the boat ramp, and as long as information about each individual is provided in advance.

Meyer warned that if Texas does not relinquish control of the nearly 2.5 miles (4 kilometers) of territory by next Wednesday, he will refer the dispute to the Department of Justice.

Incompatible versions

Over the weekend it was reported that a woman and two children had drowned in the Rio Grande last Friday. Federal authorities blamed Texas, saying it had not allowed border agents to rescue the migrants.

Democratic Congressman from Texas, Henry Cuellar, was one of those who supported this version: "The Texas Military Department and the Texas National Guard did not grant access to Border Patrol agents to save the migrants." "This is a tragedy, and the State bears responsability."

In the letter to Paxton, DHS also maintained this version. After receiving information that a group of immigrants was trying to cross the river, BP reportedly asked state authorities for permission to access the area but "Texas refused." According to Meyer:

Texas demostrated that even in the most exigent circunstamces, it will not allow Border Patrol access to the border to conduct law enforcement and emergency response activities.

"Turns out Rep. Cuellar (and some media) were so eager to point finger at Texas for drowning of migrants they forgot to get the facts," Governor Abbott responded in a post. "When BP requested access to river the drownings had already occurred and were found in Mexico," he said, adding:

The fact is the deaths are because of Biden's Open Border magnet.

The governor was referring to the findings of a Texas Military Department (TMD) investigation released Sunday. According to the state department, the same Border Patrol agents acknowledged to TMD personnel that the immigrants had died before federal authorities asked Texas for permission:

TMD Soldiers were in direct communication with Border Patrol on the evening of 12 January when Border Patrol requested access to Shelby Park. Soldiers confirmed that when Border Patrol requested access to the park they stated that Mexican Authorities had already recovered the bodies of two drowned migrants.

The TMD also detailed that the BP had requested permission to rescue two other migrants, who were believed to have traveled with the three dead. The two were reportedly captured by state agents, who then "remained engaged with lights, night vision goggles, and thermals to ensure that no additional migrants were in the river or in distress."