Holcomb joins other GOP governors in Texas to push for border security

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb, a Republican, stands at a news conference along the U.S.-Mexico border in Texas on Sunday, Feb. 4, 2024. (Courtesy Office of the Governor)

Indiana Capital Chronicle

For The Republic

EAGLE PASS, Texas — Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb stood alongside Texas’ border with Mexico on Sunday with a dozen other governors as Lone Star State Gov. Greg Abbott promised to expand his border strategy.

“Texas will … expand the area where we are using that self-defense to make sure we are able to better protect our communities,” Abbott said at a news conference at Shelby Park in Eagle Pass.

The park is central to Abbott’s clash with U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration.

Federal border patrol agents want access to the park — a common crossing point for migrants — but Texas has taken control of the park and denied them entry, according to the Associated Press

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb shakes hands with a member of the U.S. Army at Texas’ border with Mexico. (Courtesy Office of the Governor) 

Abbott and a growing number of Republican governors say Biden’s administration isn’t doing enough to stem the flow of unauthorized migrants. They cite a clause in the U.S. Constitution banning states from keeping troops or waging war unless they’re “actually invaded” or in “imminent danger.”

“I’m proud to join so many fellow governors in support (of) Governor Abbott and appreciate receiving an up-to-date, real-time … briefing from those on the front lines who see this humanitarian crisis up close,” Holcomb said in a statement Sunday.

“If unregulated immigration continues to transpire, we governors will continue to deal with the after-effects inside our home states,” added Holcomb, who didn’t speak at the news conference.

He advocated for first stopping the flow of  unauthorized migrants and then “passing a legal efficient immigration policy that actually will contribute to a needed and healthy workforce.”

Holcomb previously signed on to a 25-governor statement declaring solidarity with Texas’ strategies, including the use of razor wire.

Abbott said that national guard troops have erected more than 100 miles of sharp razor wire as a barrier along the border.

That, he said, had cut crossings at the park from thousands of people daily to a three-day average of just three crossers.

Federal officials say the razor wire blocks their patrols and injures migrants. Late last month, the U.S. Supreme Court narrowly voted to allow border patrol agents to cut the wire while a lawsuit over it continues, the Associated Press reported.

Abbott promised to expand the area covered as the governors of Tennessee and Arkansas vowed to send more national guard troops of their own.

Biden, meanwhile, has promised to “shut down the border” when it becomes “overwhelmed” if granted a “new emergency authority” in a bipartisan border security bill. He said he’d use that authority the same day he signs the legislation into law, according to a statement late last month.

Abbott rejected that offer on Sunday, telling reporters he believes Biden already has the authority to “shut down the border.”

No state dollars were used in the visit, according to Holcomb’s office. His administration gave no further details.

— The Indiana Capital Chronicle covers state government and the state legislature. For more visit indianacapitalchronicle.com.