87th LegislatureFederalImmigration & BorderPatrick Seeks ‘Showdown’ With U.S. Government for Supreme Court Ruling on Texas’ Ability to Secure Border

The lieutenant governor made the comments in a speech supporting Sen. Dawn Buckingham’s campaign for land commissioner.
May 12, 2022
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick indicated at a campaign event in Ellis County that Texas is seeking to provoke a lawsuit with the federal government that he hopes will culminate in a decision by the U.S. Supreme Court that bolsters the state’s ability to secure the southern border with Mexico.

FOX 4 reported that Patrick made the comments as he spoke to Republicans in Midlothian in support of Sen. Dawn Buckingham (R-Lakeway), who is currently in a GOP runoff with Tim Westley for land commissioner.

“I want to force a showdown with the federal government to where we go to the Supreme Court on a state’s right to protect the border,” the lieutenant governor said.

Patrick stated that Texas has earmarked $4.2 billion for border security, including $500 million that Abbott has redirected from other departments.

Much of this funding came from an act of the Texas legislature during its second special session last year. House Bill 9 added $1.02 billion to the state’s border security efforts known as Operation Lone Star, in addition to what the legislature had already appropriated earlier in 2021.

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The funding received bipartisan support and included hundreds of millions set aside for a state border wall.

Meanwhile, U.S. Customs and Border Protection reported approximately 129,000 encounters with illegal immigrants in Texas border patrol sectors in March, the last month for which data is currently available.

On Wednesday, federal Judge Robert Summerhays extended a temporary restraining order that prevents the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) from ending its enforcement of a public health order under Title 42 of U.S. law. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had announced its intent to end the order on May 23. Estimates by DHS indicate that there could be up to 18,000 daily encounters with illegal aliens if the application of Title 42 ends.

DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas has insisted the use of Title 42 is a public health policy and not an immigration strategy, though its termination will undoubtedly impact border security aside from any concerns about the spread of COVID-19.

Gov. Greg Abbott has pushed back on the federal government’s intended termination of the pandemic-era policy. He implemented an enhanced inspection policy at ports of entry to Texas for several days to incentivize Mexican governors to reach border security pacts with the State of Texas.

Texas did reach agreements with four Mexican states — Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo León, and Tamaulipas — and Abbott lifted the policy, which created delays that amounted to an effective blockade on commerce.

The governor also started providing charter buses for illegal immigrants who volunteer to be transported to the U.S. capital, though as of last month only a few hundred had been taken to Washington, D.C.

Abbott remarked in a news conference in April that the state would transport “as many as possible.”

Though some have urged the governor to declare an invasion and direct state law enforcement to deport illegal immigrants, Abbott has expressed fear that state officials could face prosecution by the U.S. government if they attempt deportations without federal approval.


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Hayden Sparks

Hayden Sparks is a senior reporter for The Texan and a lifelong resident of the Lone Star State. He has coached competitive speech and debate and has been involved in politics since a young age. One of Hayden's favorite quotes is by Sam Houston: "Texas has yet to learn submission to any oppression, come from what source it may."