struggle for the border
US District Judge Alia Moses of the Western District of Texas on Oct. 30 granted a temporary restraining order enjoining the federal government from interfering with fencing erected by Texas state authorities at the US-Mexico border. As part of Operation Lone Star, the Texas Military Department has deployed concertina wire fencing to deter illegal crossings at the border. The suit, brought by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, alleged that since Sept. 20, federal agents have implemented a policy of destroying the state-erected fencing. The complaint links to several videos posted on X, which purport to show federal agents cutting or lifting the fencing, and providing support to those attempting to cross after swimming the Rio Grande. The complaint alleged that from Sept. 21 to Sept. 28, federal agents allowed at least 400 migrants through.
The US government announced Oct. 16 that it will settle a 2018 class-action lawsuit that challenged the Trump administration's family separation practice at the US-Mexico border. The proposed settlement would create a process to reunify families who were separated. Additionally, the government is to provide health services and housing support for affected families, and arrange legal services through the Executive Office for Immigration Review. Attorney General Merrick Garland stated, "This agreement will facilitate the reunification of separated families and provide them with critical services to aid in their recovery."
The Biden administration announced Oct. 4 that it has waived 26 federal laws in an area of South Texas by executive order to allow border wall construction—a tactic often used during the Trump presidency. The Department of Homeland Security posted the waiver on the Federal Registry, affecting a "high illegal entry" sector in Starr County, Tex. According to government data, about 245,000 illegal entries have been recorded in this sector during the current fiscal year. The Clean Air Act, Safe Drinking Water Act and Endangered Species Act are among the laws suspended by the order.
Mexico will step up efforts to deport asylum-seekers and migrants to their countries of origin in order to "depressurize" northern cities bordering the United States, the country's National Migration Institute announced Sept. 22 following a meeting with US officials. The number of people crossing the US-Mexico border has spiked again in recent weeks after a lull that followed the end of pandemic-era asylum restrictions and the introduction of new deterrence policies in May. It is unclear when the deportations will begin because Mexico will first have to negotiate with Venezuela, Brazil, Nicaragua, Colombia, and Cuba to make sure they accept their nationals. US cities, such as El Paso and Eagle Pass in Texas, have been scrambling to find shelter space as thousands of people have crossed the border on a daily basis in recent weeks, overwhelming reception capacity. Thousands are also still choosing to wait in northern Mexico while trying to make appointments using a government cell phone application to enter the United States and lodge asylum claims.
Mexican authorities confirmed Aug. 3 that they recovered two bodies from the Rio Grande near the border town of Piedras Negras, Coahuila state. Authorities recovered one of the bodies, a Mexican national, from buoys recently floated by Texas in an effort to impede border crossings from Mexico. The second body, that of a Honduran national, was recovered further upstream, away from the buoys. The incidents have renewed attention on the floating barrier, which is now the subject of a lawsuit between the US Department of Justice (DoJ) and the state of Texas.
President Joe Biden is temporarily deploying 1,500 soldiers to the US-Mexico border ahead of the end of a pandemic-era entry restriction known as Title 42 on May 11. The soldiers are to perform administrative tasks, but critics say the move sends the message that migration is a threat. Tens of thousands of asylum seekers and migrants currently stranded in dire conditions in northern Mexican border cities by US policies are growing increasingly desperate and frustrated. More than 15,000 people—mostly from Venezuela—crossed the border in the vicinity of Brownsville late last month, overwhelming shelter capacity. And in El Paso, nearly 2,000 people who recently crossed the border are sleeping on sidewalks in the city center. The Biden administration has introduced a number of policies aimed at extending asylum restrictions at the border and curbing migration. The administration reached a deal with Mexico on May 2 that for the first time allows the US to deport non-Mexicans who enter the country irregularly back across the border.
In Episode 168 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg examines the suddenly booming global phenomenon of paramilitarism—the official armed forces of a given state or its repressive apparatus seeking an extension in the private sector, citizen militias, or irregular forces. This is a method generally resorted to when state power is in crisis, and contributes to a general militarization of society. Examples from Russia, West Africa, Sudan, Burma, Ecuador, Israel and finally Texas point to a dangerous and ultimately fascistic new model of both imperialism and internal policing and repression. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) on March 29 criticized two bills before the Texas state legislature that would expand the state's ability to enforce immigration laws—a matter usually left to the US federal government. HRW stated that the "dangerous and extreme" bills would authorize Texas to deputize "state-sponsored vigilantes" with little oversight.