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Border group to Biden, Abbott: Your political battles ‘sully’ our region

The Texas Department of Public Safety unloads buoys
David Martin Davies
/
TPR
The Texas Department of Public Safety unloads buoys on Friday July 7, 2023, in Eagle Pass in preparation for them to be installed in the Rio Grande to prevent migrants from crossing.

A group of elected officials and business owners from the Texas border has made a long-shot pitch to the Biden administration and Gov. Greg Abbott: come together to solve the immigration crisis.

On Tuesday the Texas Border Coalition told the two leaders the policy battles they’re engaged in only serve to smear the reputation of the border and do nothing to address real issues. That includes Abbott and the Biden administration’s most recent fight over the installation of buoys and razor wire in the Rio Grande at Eagle Pass.

“While our border communities are among the safest in the country, fights between federal and state authorities that turn the border region into a political football sully our standing and harm our people,” wrote David Stout, the TBC chairman and an El Paso County Commissioner. “We urge you to put aside intergovernmental rivalries and join with us to address issues on the border.”

The pleading comes as the president and the governor prepare to go to court over installation of the buoys, along with Democrats urging the Department of Justice to investigate Abbott’s Operation Lone Star. That state-led border security effort costs billions in taxpayer money and has spurred allegations that state officers are mistreating migrants.

The Texas Border Coalition also requested the Biden administration drop its lawsuit and that Abbott remove the barriers — requests that seem very unlikely given how far tensions have escalated between the state and federal government.

“These disputes do little to improve the lives of people on the border. We demand and deserve better,” Stout, a Democrat, added.

In a tweet posted Monday, Abbott reiterated that his actions are necessary because the White House refuses to secure the border. And he showed no signs of backing off.

“Instead of taking action to stop illegal border crossings, Biden is suing Texas for doing HIS job. Texas will defend our sovereign authority to secure the border against the Biden Administration’s lawsuit,” Abbott tweeted.

Though the group is asking both sides to come together, it said it favors the federal government taking the lead in border operations as it has purview over immigration issues.

“By working together, with the federal government taking the lead, both federal and state governments can better address the needs of the people living in the border region and create a safer, more prosperous environment for everyone involved,” the TBC statement reads.

Julián Aguilar | The Texas Newsroom