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Ivey backs Texas in border standoff with Biden

As the border feud between Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and President Joe Biden continues to escalate, Gov. Kay Ivey, along with a majority of Republican governors across the country, vowed to support Abbott’s efforts to increase security at the US-Mexico border.

While the feud has been ongoing for years, with Abbott routinely criticizing the Biden administration for failing to secure the southern border, tensions escalated recently when on Jan. 11, the Texas National Guard took control of an area along the Rio Grande River in the town of Eagle Pass.

The Texas National Guard had prevented federal Border Patrol agents from patrolling the area as they installed razor wire along the border, razor wire that the Supreme Court recently ruled could be removed by federal authorities.

Abbott has since instructed the Texas National Guard to erect more razor wire along the southern border, setting the stage for an extended standoff with the Biden administration.

On Thursday, Ivey said in a social media post that the state of Alabama was fully committed to standing with Texas in its feud with Biden.

“Texas and the states have stepped up time and time again,” Ivey wrote. “The White House? Purposely absent. I have had enough. Texas, you can count on Alabama to have your back.”

Ivey also signed onto a joint statement in support of Abbott and “Texas’ constitutional right to self-defense,” as did 24 other Republican governors. Only one Republican governor – Phil Scott of Vermont – did not sign onto the letter.

“President Biden and his administration have left Americans and our country completely vulnerable to unprecedented illegal immigration pouring across the Southern border,” the letter reads. 

“Instead of upholding the rule of law and securing the border, the Biden Administration has attacked and sued Texas for stepping up to protect American citizens from historic levels of illegal immigrants, deadly drugs like fentanyl, and terrorists entering our country. We stand in solidarity with our fellow Governor, Greg Abbott, and the State of Texas in utilizing every tool and strategy, including razor wire fences, to secure the border.”

Encounters with undocumented immigrants along America’s southern border have increased in recent years, with encounters increasing in 2023 by more than 40% since 2021, according to a House Homeland Security Committee report published in October. Nearly 2.5 million such encounters were recorded in 2023, nearly 219,000 of which resulted in apprehensions by federal Border Patrol agents.

The importance of border security and immigration among voters has largely become a partisan issue. While a majority of both Republicans and Democrats favor hiring more border agents, there are stark divides when it comes to legalization and deportation.

According to a recent Fox News poll, 80% of Democrats favor allowing undocumented immigrants to apply for legal status versus just 40% of Republicans. On deporting undocumented immigrants, 89% of Republicans said they would be in favor of doing so, whereas Democrats were 48% in favor.

Immigration remains a top priority for Republicans, something Ivey and other Republican governors’ in their support for Abbott’s border security measures will likely lean into going into the 2024 Election.

“The Biden Administration is refusing to enforce immigration laws already on the books and is illegally allowing mass parole across America of migrants who entered our country illegally,” the joint letter reads.

“The authors of the U.S. Constitution made clear that in times like this, states have a right of self-defense. Because the Biden Administration has abdicated its constitutional compact duties to the states, Texas has every legal justification to protect the sovereignty of our states and our nation.”

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