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Greg Abbott: Texas Building ‘Forward Operating Base’ For Guard Troops Along Border

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


Texas Gov. Greg Abbott continues to defy the White House and federal courts regarding his state’s ongoing efforts to combat illegal immigration after years of dealing with millions of migrants following President Joe Biden’s repeal of his predecessor’s highly effective border security policies.

The GOP governor “announced the construction of a ‘forward operating base’ near the southern border to bolster the National Guard’s efforts to secure the border in the face of perceived federal apathy toward the unprecedented surge in illegal crossings,” Just the News reports.

Abbott unveiled the establishment of the FOB during a press conference held in Eagle Pass. The base will occupy 80 acres of land near Eagle Pass and have the capacity to accommodate up to 1,800 troops in individual rooms. Additionally, it will be capable of hosting an extra 500 troops in the case of special deployments, the outlet continued.

“Texas is expanding our border security capabilities by building a new Texas Military Department base camp to increase and improve border security operations in this area,” he announced. “This will increase the ability for a larger number of Texas Military Department soldiers in Eagle Pass to operate more effectively and efficiently.”

“Texas would not be able to respond to President Biden’s border crisis without the brave men and women of the Texas National Guard, and it is essential to build this base camp for them,” he went on.

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Last week, federal appeals court judges appointed by Republican presidents dealt a legal blow to Abbott regarding his state’s actions along the volatile and chaotic U.S.-Mexico border.

Abbott has been actively involved in legal disputes against the Biden administration regarding his jurisdiction to implement border security measures along the southern border, particularly amidst a surge in migrant arrivals in recent months. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) data reveals that there were over 2.4 million encounters at the U.S.-Mexico border during the 2023 fiscal year, a notable increase from approximately 1.7 million encounters in 2021, Newsweek reported.

Abbott’s administration has argued the illegal crossing of migrants along the Texas border constitutes an “invasion” of the state and invoked “Texas’s constitutional authority to defend and protect itself.”

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Nevertheless, Abbott has encountered setbacks in the courtroom as the Biden administration retaliates, notably with the United States Supreme Court ruling in favor of Biden in a pivotal case regarding whether federal border agents can dismantle razor wire erected by the Texas National Guard.

The New Orleans-based Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, widely regarded by legal experts as one of the most conservative courts in the U.S., handed another legal defeat to Abbott last week in a ruling linked to a separate case regarding Texas’ authority to build a floating barrier in the Rio Grande, Newsweek added.

In September 2023, Judge David A. Ezra issued a ruling mandating that Texas dismantle the barrier until a final decision is reached on the issue. In December, a 2-1 vote by a Fifth Circuit panel upheld the temporary injunction. However, in January, the court consented to a fresh hearing involving the full 11-member court, expanding beyond the initial three-judge panel.

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Meanwhile, Abbott’s legal team submitted a request to the Fifth Circuit to “stay trial proceedings” while Judge Ezra set a March trial date for the case, which could coincide with the appeals court’s schedule to hear arguments on the preliminary injunction.

However, on Thursday, seven Republican judges on the court joined Democrats in rejecting Texas’ plea.

Although the Republican judges expressed widespread criticism of Ezra’s timeline, the majority determined that Texas’ attorneys had not satisfied the criteria to pause trial proceedings, the outlet reported.

Circuit Judge Don R. Willett, appointed to the court by former President Donald Trump, wrote that the “rushed schedule” is “questionable” but “not mandamus-able.”

“Despite our misgivings about the district court’s decisions, we cannot say that the rigorous criteria for mandamus are fulfilled. The district court’s scheduling orders although questionable, fall shy of showing a ‘persistent disregard of the Rules of Civil Procedure’ or a pattern of noncompliance that could justify mandamus relief,” he added.

Four additional GOP-appointed judges signed onto that opinion, including Chief Judge Priscilla Richman, appointed by former President George W. Bush, according to Newsweek.

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