EAGLE PASS — The Eagle Pass City Council controversially voted to revoke an order declaring Shelby Park private, which allowed illegal aliens to be detained and jailed for trespassing.
Shelby Park is a 47-acre park situated along the bank of the Rio Grande River. It was a popular spot for illegal aliens to attempt to cross before the Texas Department of Public Safety officials implemented razor wire barriers. The private status of Shelby Park allowed the DPS and Border Patrol officials to catch and detain illegal aliens attempting to cross into the U.S. for criminal trespass.
“In effect, this cowardly action by local officials serves to hamstring current operations under Operation Lone Star by attempting to ensure that any illegal alien who gets past the initial line of barriers near Shelby Park will be turned over to Border Patrol and later released into the interior of our country,” president of Texans for Strong Borders Chris Russo told Texas Scorecard.
Though the motion to change Shelby Park’s status from private to public passed almost unanimously, some officials in Eagle Pass expressed their concerns about it.
South Texas director for DPS, Victor Escalon, said that DPS is trying to prevent the crisis in Eagle Pass from escalating.
According to Kristin Etter, an attorney for Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid who represents multiple illegal aliens arrested in Shelby Park, DPS detained at least 500 illegal aliens since Independence Day.
“Our concern is today it’s 1,000 (unlawful crossings),” Escalon said. “Tomorrow, it’s 4,000, 5,000, and so on and so forth. We have a crisis here in the community. So, we want to avoid that. And the way to avoid that is by our presence.”
Illegal aliens awaiting their court hearings are held in three detention centers under the oversight of Operation Lone Star.
Since Eagle Pass has been a hotspot for illegal crossings, Gov. Greg Abbott implemented buoy barriers in the Rio Grade between Texas and Mexico in early July.
Mexico then filed a diplomatic complaint stating that the bouys violate a 1944 treaty between the two countries. Additionally, a local business owner in Eagle Pass filed a lawsuit against Texas, Abbott, and the DPS, saying the buoy barriers caused “imminent and irreparable harm” to his kayak business.
The U.S Department of Justice filed an injunction against Texas, calling for Abbott to halt further construction and implementation of buoy barriers.
If the injunction by the DOJ is approved, the United States Army Core of Engineers will remove the barriers.
However, despite pushback, Abbott has welcomed the challenges.
“We will see you in court Mr. President,” Abbott tweeted after DOJ filed their injunction. “Under Biden’s policies the UN declared the U.S. Mexico border the deadliest border crossing in world. Biden must now face the consequences.”
Abbott then cited Arizona v. United States, a 2012 Supreme Court case that ruled states have “sovereign interest in protecting [their] borders.”
A date has not yet been set for an initial hearing.