The Student News Site of McCallum High School

The Shield Online

The Student News Site of McCallum High School

The Shield Online

The Student News Site of McCallum High School

The Shield Online

A crisis at ‘La Puerta’

Elected officials put political points over policy solutions as immigration numbers rises along Texas-Mexico border
Nate Williams
U.S. Border Patrol has seen a stark rise in the amount of apprehensions at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Just over 200 miles south of Austin is a small town called Eagle Pass. It is a little-known settlement that is most recognized as being home to the historic ruins of the 18th century San Bernardo Mission and for being the first American settlement on the Rio Grande. It became a more relevant area during the 19th century for being the quickest route between Mexico and San Antonio, which is sometimes referred to as “La Puerta de Mexico,” or Mexico’s Door. But recently, the town of just over 28,000 residents has been thrown into a political battle over its border with Mexico. 

The economies of small American towns, similar to Eagle Pass, are very important for the health of the country, it is imperative that U.S. authorities protect the lives of every immigrant attempting to cross the southern border; nevertheless, our elected leaders must take steps to curb the mass amounts of illegal crossings that are impacting first responders, especially in southern cities.

The situation at the southern border is extremely serious. A record high numbers of illegal immigration into the country, while border patrol and police officer numbers are down, poses a threat to southern border communities like Eagle Pass. The city relies on its two international bridges to supply revenue for 50% percent of its annual budget. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection has temporarily suspended traffic from Mexico into the U.S. at one of the Eagle Pass bridges since November. According to city officials, Eagle Pass is losing up to $80,000 a day in lost revenues due to the temporary closure of the international bridge.

The federal government sued the City of Eagle Pass in 2008 as it attempted to gain access to the town’s property and construct a fence along the U.S.-Mexico border. In May of last year, President Joe Biden ended the “Title 42” policy created during the coronavirus pandemic under former President Donald Trump. The policy allowed U.S. officials to turn away migrants attempting to cross the border on the grounds of preventing the spread of COVID-19. Prior to the policy, an immigrant who crossed the southern border illegally could apply for asylum and be allowed into the country. Under Title 42, however, migrants were returned and denied the right to seek asylum. According to the Associated Press, more than 2.8 million migrants were turned away from entering the country by U.S. southern border officials under Title 42.

Since the Biden administration ended the Trump-era policy, the southern border has seen record numbers of migrants attempting to enter the United States. Eagle Pass saw a total of 4,095 undocumented immigrants encountered by the U.S. Border Patrol on Dec. 20 . Record numbers like those in Eagle Pass are not uncommon to many border towns in Texas like Del Rio, which became the second busiest border crossing with 71,095 arrests in December 2023 alone.

With the high influx of illegal border crossings, local and federal governments have taken important steps to deter migrants from making the dangerous journey across the Rio Grande River and into the U.S. However, some leaders have put politics over impactful policy. Gov. Greg Abbott has been at odds with the Biden administration ever since the federal government sued the State of Texas’s use of razor wire and buoys on the southern border to curb the increase of illegal crossings. In August, border officials discovered two bodies in the Rio Grande near Eagle Pass, one of the areas where the TX government added buoys . The U.S. Supreme Court recently sided with the Biden administration to allow border patrol agents to cut and remove the razor wire across the border, which has only enhanced tensions between federal and state politicians.


Gov. Abbott is occupied with petty politics to appease Trump, the leader of the Republican coalition, instead of working across the aisle to achieve a solution to the border situation. There is, however, a bipartisan effort in the U.S. Senate to offer legislative solutions to the surge of migrants. A group of senators and negotiators from the White House have neared an agreement that would fund Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan, while reportedly setting a limit on the number of migrants that can come across the border. It is very difficult, however, for legislation to pass in an extremely divided Congress. The agreement is at risk after Trump recently claimed that “a border bill is not necessary.” Why would a person who, for months, has claimed the Biden administration is not doing nearly enough to stop the surge of illegal immigration at the southern border not support vital legislation? Because Trump is a politician and a political candidate running for a second term. The optics of Biden being able to pass bipartisan immigration legislation into law would presumably look terrible for Trump’s second reelection campaign and might even raise Biden’s low approval ratings.

Politicians are elected to work for the people that they represent, not for their personal interests and campaigns. The current situation at the border is extreme and it should be considered a crisis. It is clear that the President’s current actions are not doing nearly enough to stop the surge of illegal southern border crossings, but it has been shown that they are attempting to negotiate with Congress for a substantial bill. Politicians need to work together to help small towns like Eagle Pass and stop petty legal fights to help save the lives of those attempting to cross the southern border and start a new life.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All The Shield Online Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *