Wednesday, February 21, 2024
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Eagle Pass braces for another surge of illegal border crossers



The small border town of Eagle Pass, Texas, is bracing for another surge of an expected group of thousands of people illegally entering from Mexico.

The city’s bridge system announced that one of the bridges connecting Eagle Pass to Piedras Negras, Mexico, would close, preventing entry from Mexico into Texas.

Bridge officials issued a notice stating, “Due to recent increase in number of immigrant crossings, Bridge 1 will suspend northbound operations (Mexico to United States) effective November 27, 2023, 3:00 pm and until further notice. Southbound operations (United states to Mexico) will not be affected.”

It also clarified that the decision was made by the federal government and not the city of Eagle Pass.

The news comes after Eagle Pass officials declared an emergency in September after thousands illegally entered the small town creating a public health crisis. The city’s state of disaster is similar to nearly 60 other disaster declarations border counties and counties impacted by the border crisis have issued since 2021, which remain in effect.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued a state of disaster on May 31, 2021, for these counties, which has been renewed every month and is still in effect. The state of disaster authorizes certain emergency protective measures to be taken related to emergency management and public health.

Eagle Pass is at the center of three lawsuits after Abbott surged resources and personnel to the area, installed a marine barrier and erected miles of concertina wire and containers to block illegal entry into Texas.

A federal judge has so far ruled in favor of Texas in its lawsuit against the Biden administration for tearing down its concertina wire barriers on state land.

The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals also handed Texas a win when it stayed a lower court ruling ordering Texas to move its marine barriers in Rio Grande River closer to the Texas riverbank.

A third lawsuit was filed by a Texas-based kayaking company seeking to end Abbott’s border security mission, Operation Lone Star.

Abbott also directed more buses to Eagle Pass to transport illegal foreign nationals to self-described sanctuary cities. When doing so, he said, “President Biden’s continued refusal to secure our border invites thousands of illegal crossings into Texas and our nation each day. Texas communities like Eagle Pass … should not have to shoulder the unprecedented surge,” he said, which is why he deployed additional buses “to send these migrants to self-declared sanctuary cities and provide much-needed relief to our overrun border towns.”

Texas National Guard and Texas Department of Public Safety officers working through Operation Lone Star have also modified their tactics as they continue to hold the line at the border, including reinforcing border barriers and blocking illegal entry.

“We stand at the concertina wire and deter them,” Spc. Celso Eunzalan with Lima Company in Task Force Eagle, said of their operations in Eagle Pass. “So far, we have deterred them from crossing onto our soil, about 25 meters from here. We have some riot shields, and we were able to deter.”