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Greg Abbott scolded by conservative newspaper over border standoff


Greg Abbott, the Republican governor of Texas, was the subject of a scolding article from the Wall Street Journal editorial board on Friday over his recent confrontations with the federal government over border issues.

Over the past several weeks, Abbott has clashed with the Biden administration, saying that Texas holds authority over policing the southern border with Mexico, despite the U.S. Constitution saying otherwise. This has recently involved seizing a particular migrant processing site from Customs & Border Patrol (CBP) and denying federal agents access to the area.

Last month, the Supreme Court voted 5-4 in approval of the White House’s request to vacate an injunction from the Fifth Circuit in October, which blocked President Joe Biden’s administration from instructing federal agents to cut down razor wire installed in Texas to deter migrant crossings. In response to the decision, Abbott released a statement announcing his intention to defy the ruling, asserting Texas’s right to defend itself. In response, 25 Republican governors voiced support for the move, while opponents criticized Abbott for potentially creating a constitutional crisis.

greg abbott wsj scolding
Above, a photo of Texas Governor Greg Abbott. The governor’s recent defiance of the federal government on border matters prompted a critical piece in the conservative pages of the Wall Street Journal.

Brandon Bell/Getty Images

Newsweek reached out to Abbott’s office via email for comment.

“Biden’s border crisis is the #1 issue in America. Under Biden’s open border policies, every state in our nation is a border state,” Abbott wrote in Saturday X, formerly Twitter, post. “Texas will continue to step up to protect our state and our country in his absence.”

The latest voice taking the Abbott government in Texas to task is the Wall Street Journal‘s editorial board, which, as a subsidiary of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, has often been viewed as a major media source advocating for conservative political views. While criticizing the federal government for alleged failures in border security, the Friday piece from the board focused most of its criticism on Abbott’s decisions in the standoff, warning that he will lose in the event that his maneuvers provoke a constitutional crisis.

“If Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is a constitutionalist, he will carefully consider his next move,” the board wrote. “His state’s jostling with the U.S. government on the Rio Grande in Eagle Pass isn’t yet a constitutional crisis, but it could become one. Although Washington is failing to secure the border, it remains supreme in our federalist system.”

The piece notes that Abbott has invoked a clause in the U.S. Constitution that allows Texas the “right to self-defense” in the event of an “invasion,” which is how he and many other conservatives have characterized the recent surges in migrant crossings. The board criticized this as an inadvisable stretch, and also noted that congressional approval is needed to begin acting on the clause.

“The first question is whether migration, however anarchic, is an ‘invasion.’ Do conservatives really want to start stretching constitutional terms? Progressives will do that better,” the piece argued. “And what power is Texas even trying to unlock? If migrants who have walked 1,000 miles qualify as an invading army, does Mr. Abbott intend to ‘engage in War’ on them?”

The WSJ editorial board went on to raise concerns that the situation at the border could potentially turn violent.

“But it isn’t hard to imagine a more direct conflict emerging if Texas continues trying to box out the Border Patrol in Eagle Pass. Would Mr. Abbott or other officials defy a resulting court order and risk contempt? Would Mr. Biden invoke the Insurrection Act to have the military intervene?”