Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R) said Monday the state will continue to build razor wire and other fencing on the U.S.-Mexico border, despite a Supreme Court order last week allowing federal law enforcement to tear down state-erected barriers.
“We are putting up wire, Martha, everywhere we can,” he told Fox News’s Martha MacCallum on Monday. “We will continue. We will not stop. If they cut it, we will replace it.”
A small section of the border near Eagle Pass, Texas, is at the center of a standoff between the state and the Biden administration over border authority and security. Federal authorities claimed the Texas National Guard blocked off federal Border Patrol access to Shelby Park, which was previously used by the Border Patrol to process migrants and for its Rio Grande boat ramp.
The Supreme Court ruled that the federal government can remove Texas’s barriers in the area, ensuring federal law enforcement access to all parts of the border.
Patrick threatened a “confrontation” with state authorities if the Biden administration sent Border Patrol to remove barriers.
“I was down there Friday with our troops to thank them, support them, and also to stand with them in the event the Biden administration did send Border Patrol there,” he said. “Wisely, they did not. We’re thankful they did not. We don’t want a confrontation, but we want this border secure.”
Gov. Greg Abbott (R-Texas) claimed last week that the state has a right to fight off an “invasion” and that state authority “supersedes” federal law.
Some Democrats have called on Biden to nationalize the Texas National Guard and force it to tear down state barriers and enforce federal access to the border. GOP governors from about two dozen states have backed Abbott, showing support and criticizing the court’s ruling.
Abbott’s statement Wednesday specifically claims the federal government has “broken the compact” with the states, justifying ignoring federal law and the Supreme Court.
The so-called “compact theory” is a rejected idea of state supremacy used to justify the secession of Confederate states during the Civil War. The Supreme Court repeatedly shot down the legal theory in the early years of the U.S., when it was first proposed to nullify federal legislation during President John Adams’s time in office.
The conflict comes as congressional Republicans push Biden and Democrats further on border security demands amid negotiations on a bipartisan border bill.