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Texas begins arresting illegal migrants in Eagle Pass, as war with feds escalates

Texas authorities have started arresting migrants who illegally enter the US across the Rio Grande in Eagle Pass, Texas.

State law enforcement has occupied Shelby Park in the city and armed officers have blocked anyone from entering the space — including federal border patrol agents, leading to an escalating conflict.

Officers announced they had started to arrest migrants who entered the park Wednesday, in what is thought to be a preview of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s new state law allowing police to arrest and charge people suspected of entering the country illegally.

“Troopers are arresting illegal immigrants for criminal trespass in Shelby park in Eagle Pass,” Texas Department of Public Safety Lt. Chris Olivarez wrote on X.

“Troopers are enforcing criminal trespass on adult men & women. The State of Texas will maintain a proactive posture in curbing illegal border crossings between the ports of

Figures of how many arrests had been made and whether arrested migrants had been handed over to federal authorities for processing were not immediately available Thursday.

Abbott’s bill making illegal immigration a state crime was passed in December, but isn’t set to come into effect until March. It is also expected to be challenged in court by the Biden administration

Department of Homeland Security officials have been fighting for access to Shelby Park in court, claiming Abbott’s measures are hindering their ability to patrol it and to provide emergency aid to migrants in need.

“Because border patrol can no longer access or view this stretch of the border, Texas has effectively prevented border patrol from monitoring the border to determine whether a migrant requires the emergency aid they are legally allowed to render,” a prior motion states.

Things came to a head last week when a mother and two children drowned trying to swim across the Rio Grande.

Initial finger pointing by Democratic congressman Henry Cuellar saw him blame the Texas Military Department for the deaths and accused them of shutting out federal Border Patrol agents.

However, it later transpired Mexican authorities had found the bodies on their side of the river and once the alarm had been raised, Texas troops in Shelby Park had searched the river for any signs of migrants in distress.

They also treated two migrants who made it across for hypothermia before handing them off to Border Patrol agents.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton sent a strong rebuttal to federal filings demanding access to the park and asserting the state’s right to cordon the area.

His office argued keeping the park area and its vicinity accessible imperiled migrants who made the dangerous trek across the river, which has banks on the park.

“The loss of any human life in the Rio Grande is tragic — and preventable,” the filing states.

“That is one reason Governor Abbott ordered the installation of the concertina wire at issue in this case: As the district court found, following the submission of extensive evidence from all parties, “’the wire serves as a deterrent’ against those who seek to ford the river and instead routes them to safe, lawful ports of entry.

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