ARIZONA NEWS

Arizona’s Toma among those supporting Texas in border wire clash with Biden administration

Jan 29, 2024, 4:00 PM | Updated: 4:00 pm

Concertina wire lines the path as members of Congress tour an area near the Texas-Mexico border, Ja...

Concertina wire lines the path as members of Congress tour an area near the Texas-Mexico border, Jan. 3, 2024, in Eagle Pass, Texas. As congressional negotiators try to finalize a bipartisan deal on the border and immigration, their effort is drawing the wrath of hard-right lawmakers and former President Donald Trump. That vocal opposition threatens to unravel a delicate compromise. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)
Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

(AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)

PHOENIX — Arizona House Speaker Ben Toma joined a coalition of 27 states supporting Texas in its clash with the Biden administration over razor wire barriers at the border intended to limit migration.

Toma, a Republican, said Monday he sided with Texas and Gov. Greg Abbott’s decision to not give Border Patrol agents access to Shelby Park, a riverfront park that is a popular corridor for migrants illegally entering the U.S.

Texas has installed rows of wire in the park and says more is being added after the Supreme Court cleared the way for Border Patrol agents to cut or remove the sharp metal barrier. The fencing has become one of Abbott’s most visible measures to deter migrants in the border city of Eagle Pass.

A letter supporting Texas’ efforts was sent to Biden on Monday.

“Texas has every right to defend itself from the unprecedented flow of illegal immigration, drug trafficking and countless threats at our southern border because of President Biden’s willful refusal to protect this nation,” Toma said in a statement.

Texas has accused the Biden administration of not doing enough to curb illegal crossings, even as numbers slightly improve.

Texas troopers and National Guard members have kept a large presence at Shelby Park since last summer, when thousands of migrants were crossing illegally crossing from Mexico. Crossings have decreased notably since the start of January, not only in Eagle Pass but elsewhere along the U.S.-Mexico border.

But nearly two weeks into the start of the year, the state told the Eagle Pass mayor that it would be closing access to Shelby Park. Mayor Rolando Salinas said in a video published on his social media that he was not given an explanation over the timing and was not aware of when the public would have access to the popular recreation area.

Texas told the Supreme Court the park was reopened to the public days after they shut it down, but the federal government expressed skepticism in its letter. The Biden administration requested access to the park, an area underneath a port of entry and a boat ramp.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Arizona’s Toma among those supporting Texas in border wire clash with Biden administration