Texas standoff highlights deep divide in US
Presidential election poses risks including civil war 2.0 as candidates lack leadership: expert
Published: Jan 29, 2024 07:40 PM
Texas National Guard soldiers wait nearby the boat ramp where law enforcement enter the Rio Grande at Shelby Park on January 27, 2024 in Eagle Pass, Texas, United States. Photo: VCG

Texas National Guard soldiers wait nearby the boat ramp where law enforcement enter the Rio Grande at Shelby Park on January 27, 2024 in Eagle Pass, Texas, United States. Photo: VCG

The escalating border standoff between Texas and the US federal government units over immigration is rooted in the profound political division between Democrats and Republicans, Chinese analysts pointed out on Monday. While it may be too early to speculate on the possibility of an "American Civil War 2.0," concerns are growing as the risks of heightened political discord in the US during the 2024 presidential election year become increasingly apparent, as marked by the latest state-federal government clash, they said.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott has pledged not to back down in his escalating standoff with President Joe Biden's administration over border enforcement, even after the administration secured a significant win over Abbot when the Supreme Court on January 22 ruled 5-4 to allow the temporary removal of razor wire along the southern border while litigation over the issue proceeds, US media outlet Newsweek reported.

The installation of the razor wire near the border city of Eagle Pass was among several aggressive measures the Republican governor has taken in a bid to stop migrants from entering the US illegally. 

On Wednesday, the Texas governor issued a statement accusing Biden of failing to fulfil his constitutional duty to protect the nation's borders, the CNN reported.

Meanwhile, the US border state's Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick responded to a question of a possible civil war on local time Sunday in an interview on Fox News' Sunday Morning Futures, saying that Texas does not want a confrontation with the Biden administration while reiterating that the state has a constitutional right to carry out its actions.

"Don't mess with Texas. We're serious about securing our border," Patrick warned, according to the US media report. 

The number of arrests for illegal border crossings from Mexico since officials started to release monthly statistics reached an all-time high in December 2023, according to the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) on Friday.

The standoff in Texas highlights political division in the US, with partisan strife being the fundamental cause of its eruption, Chinese analysts pointed out on Monday. 

It cannot be ruled out that this is also an incident that the Republicans could provoke to further unite its internal factions. Simultaneously, they may leverage the immigration issue to appeal for swing state votes, Lü Xiang, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Monday.

Former US president Donald Trump lavished praise Saturday on Abbot for not allowing the Biden administration to remove razor wire in a popular corridor for migrants illegally entering the US. 

"When I'm president, instead of trying to send Texas a restraining order, I will send them reinforcements," Trump told a crowd of supporters in Las Vegas, where he rallied on an indoor soccer field in a largely Latino neighborhood. "Instead of fighting border states, I will use every resource tool and authority of the US president to defend the USA from this horrible invasion that is taking place right now."

In addition to the GOP's most likely nominee for the 2024 presidential election, Republican governors in half of the US have backed Texas over illegal immigration. On Thursday, 25 Republican governors released a joint statement of solidarity with Abbott for "stepping up to protect American citizens from historic levels of illegal immigrants, deadly drugs like fentanyl, and terrorists entering our country," the BBC reported. 

"Creating more conflicts allows the Republicans to seize higher ground in the presidential election, putting Democrats in a passive defense position," Lü noted.

Li Haidong, a professor at the China Foreign Affairs University, told the Global Times on Monday that the standoff also proves that the US federal system and the current profound political division in the country have become increasingly confrontational. 

"The growing disconnect is evident in the disagreements between the federal government and states on crucial issues. Resolving these divisions through compromise are challenging, leading to situations like the standoff between Texas and the federal government, involving the National Guard and federal forces. This unpleasant scenario highlights the challenges within the federal system," Li explained. 

"The US, among global powers, faces unparalleled domestic challenges. While neglecting these issues domestically, the US has disproportionately invested its resources abroad. Pressing domestic issues, notably the border and immigration issues, raise concerns about a potential constitutional crisis akin to the Civil War (1861-1865). However, it's crucial to note that leader like Trump lacks the leadership prowess of Abraham Lincoln, leaving uncertainties about the nation's ability to weather such challenges," Li warned.