Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is pushing back against the Biden administration’s demand that the state stop hindering U.S. Border Patrol agents from accessing Shelby Park in Eagle Pass. In doing so, Paxton has given the green light to the Texas National Guard to continue overseeing the area.

In a Wednesday letter to Jonathan E. Meyer, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s general counsel, Paxton stressed that Texas is still allowing Border Patrol agents to use Shelby Park’s boat ramp for emergency medical care when needed.

Paxton also contested the Biden administration’s framing of the story surrounding three illegal aliens, including two children, who recently died attempting to cross the Rio Grande near the Shelby Park area.

The DHS has tried to use the incident as justification for its incursion into the state-controlled park. Texas took control of the park and denied Border Patrol agents access earlier this month.

“Your attempt to blame Texas for three migrant deaths on January 12, 2024 is vile and, as you now should be aware, completely inaccurate,” Paxton wrote.

Paxton also claimed that federal agents told the Texas Military Department’s staff sergeant that “Mexican officials had already recovered dead bodies and that the situation was under control.”

The Border Patrol agents, he pointed out, did not even have a boat or request entry into the park to conduct a rescue.

“Texas has seen no evidence, and you cite none, showing that the migrants who drowned actually reached the Texas shore,” Paxton emphasized.

Paxton’s letter is an official response to the DHS’ cease-and-desist request on January 14, which threatened to get the U.S. Department of Justice involved if Texas refused to back down by the end of the day on Thursday. It will likely lead to an imminent, high-profile legal battle.

Paxton is not the only Texas state official speaking out against the federal government’s power grab.

Lt. Chris Olivarez, spokesman for the Texas Department of Public Safety, defended the state’s multi-agency effort to stop the crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border earlier this week after the cease-and-desist letter was handed down.

The Texas National Guard has “restricted access for border patrol. And what that really means is … not trying to keep border patrol from doing their duties, but so there’s not a processing center set up,” Olivarez stated.

On Wednesday morning, the National Border Patrol Council agreed in a post on X.

“Anything put out by the Biden Admin about our border should immediately be considered propagandistic crap until such time as they actually say something that’s true,” the union posted. “From falsely accusing BP agents of ‘strappings’ to blaming TX for 3 drownings, these people are incorrigible.”

Luca Cacciatore

Luca H. Cacciatore is a journalist for Texas Scorecard. He is an American Moment inaugural fellow and former welder.