Updated Jan 17, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Texas AG defies Biden administration's border access demand

A National Guard soldier stands guard on the banks of the Rio Grande river at Shelby Park on January 12, 2024 in Eagle Pass, Texas.

A National Guard soldier stands guard on the banks of the Rio Grande river at Shelby Park on Jan. 12 in Eagle Pass, Texas. Photo: Brandon Bell/Getty Images

Texas' attorney general is refusing to comply with Biden administration demands to stop blocking U.S. Border Patrol agents from accessing a public park along the southern border.

Why it matters: The Department of Homeland Security in a "cease-and-desist" letter said Texas officials had until the end of Wednesday to enable federal access to a site where three migrants drowned last week or it would "refer the matter to the Department of Justice for appropriate action."

  • Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton's refusal to comply with the request sets the stage for another courtroom clash on immigration with the Biden administration — which has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to permit Border Patrol agents to cut razor wire at the border that state officials constructed to prevent migrant crossings.

The big picture: The DHS request concerns access to the border over a roughly 2.5-mile stretch of the Rio Grande in the Shelby Park area where a woman and two children drowned — and where Texas has restricted Border Patrol agents from processing and aiding migrants.

What they're saying: Paxton wrote in response on Wednesday that because "the facts and law side with Texas, the State will continue utilizing its constitutional authority to defend her territory, and I will continue defending those lawful efforts in court."

  • Representatives for the DHS and DOJ did not immediately respond to Axios' request for comment.

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Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

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