(AUSTIN, Texas) — Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has ordered the state’s National Guard to install a barrier in some parts along the Texas/New Mexico state line. Officials say guard members have been placing concertina wire in an area close to Sunland Park, New Mexico, which shares a border with El Paso, Texas.
Footage shot by KVIA shows some of the fencing running along the Rio Grande.
ABC News has reached out to Texas officials, who have not yet provided an estimate of how much fencing is being installed.
Abbott says the barrier is meant to deter migrants who cross from Mexico into New Mexico before heading to El Paso.
“Texas installs fencing along NEW Mexico border. Our barriers around El Paso forced the migrants crossing illegally to enter into New Mexico. They then entered into El Paso from there. To end that, we are building a barrier on the New Mexico border,” the governor posted Sunday on the social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter.
In a statement given to ABC News, the Texas Military Department (TMD) said the Texas National Guard is “fortifying” the border between the two states.
“The Texas National Guard has heavily fortified the border in El Paso with 18 miles of concertina wire. We are now fortifying the border between Texas and New Mexico to block migrants who are entering New Mexico illegally and then crossing into Texas. The effort in El Paso was bolstered by the recent deployment of the Texas Tactical Border Force to El Paso. The Texas National Guard remains focused on operations to prevent, deter, and interdict transnational criminal activity and illegal immigration along the border,” the TMD public affairs office said.
A spokesperson for New Mexico Rep. Gabe Vasquez says state officials were not warned about the governor’s plans.
A statement given to ABC News by Vasquez said, in part, that the barrier is unconstitutional.
“However, this is one of the many political stunts that the Texas governor has cooked up to demonize immigrants and that provides no real long-term solution to the crisis that we’re facing. Governor Abbott has done this before. He has put up an illegal border wall with shipping containers, then he conned migrants into taking buses to other states without their clear consent, then he put up a death trap on the Rio Grande that drowned innocent migrants seeking asylum, and now, his latest stunt is putting up a barrier between Texas and New Mexico,” Vasquez said.
Abbott is facing an ongoing lawsuit over his decision to install a floating barrier in the Rio Grande on the U.S. and Mexico border. The state is arguing that they did not need permission from the federal government to install buoys along a 1,000-foot stretch of the Rio Grande in Eagle Pass, Texas.
The governor’s office has not responded to an ABC News inquiry about whether Texas officials discussed Abbott’s plans with their New Mexico counterparts.
The Texas Military Department, Department of Public Safety, and the governor’s office did not answer when asked how much of the planned 18-miles-long wire fencing has been placed and if more is planned.
“The state stands ready to assist as requested by federal or local partners to ensure individuals are treated with compassion and respect while maintaining public safety. We encourage Gov. Abbott to turn his attention away from a never-ending stream of political stunts and toward working in earnest for the people of the state he was elected to represent,” said Caroline Sweeney, a spokesperson for New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham.
In a joint statement, the Democratic Party chairs of both Texas and New Mexico called for the barrier to be removed. “Shame on Greg Abbott for using public tax dollars to uplift his dangerous approach to border security, and infringing upon Texans’ and New Mexicans’ right to move freely across state lines. Texas and New Mexico Democrats condemn Abbott’s razor wire fencing along our state borders, and call for its removal effective immediately,” their statement read in part.
At an event hosted last month by the Manhattan Institute, a conservative think tank, Abbott said that even if Texas was able to stop all unlawful entries through the Texas-Mexico border, some would still be coming in from New Mexico.
“Not only are we building border barriers between the border of Texas and Mexico, we’re also having now to build border barriers between Texas and New Mexico,” he said.
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