Greg Abbott, the controversial governor of Texas, has been making a name for himself in national headlines, largely in relation to his actions on the Southern border. Abbott has implemented some policies that have been deemed controversial not only by constituents, but the government and the court system as well.

Abbott Dealing With the Immigrant Crisis

Abbott is the governor that has worked closely with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in order to attempt to deal with the overwhelming flow of migrants at the southern border of Texas, both illegal and legal.

Source: Wikimedia Commons/David Martin Davies

He has implemented policies that some have deemed cruel and unusual towards migrants, though Abbott has pushed back against this assessment. Some of his actions include installing razor wire along the border in order to deter migrants, as well as authorizing the installment of floating buoys in the Rio Grande.

The Biden Administration Appealing

The Biden administration has appealed many of the choices that Abbott has implemented, sending the decisions up the ladder to the Supreme Court in order to get them reviewed. The reasoning behind this appeals process is that the border of the United States is a federal issue to be dealt with, not a states issue.

Source: Wikimedia Commons/The White House

Abbott has disagreed, though the Supreme Court has sided with the Biden administration regarding his choices more than once. Abbott has stated that the border crisis constitutes an “invasion” of his state, allowing him to trigger the Invasion Clause of the Constitution and operate unilaterally in order to protect his state.

A Weak Argument, At Best

This argument is flimsy at best, but it’s appealed to constituents. Republicans have been pushing the narrative that the border crisis is out of control for months, and the talking points are working to stoke fear and drive turnout during the primary season for the 2024 elections.

Source: Flickr/Gage Skidmore

Recent polling also supports the idea that Abbott’s fear-mongering policies are working. A Newsweek-exclusive poll that was conducted by Redfield and Wilton Strategies shows that 51% of Texas voters back Abbot’s decision to continue installing razor wire at the southern border, despite the fact that the issue is currently being discussed in appeals court.

The Supreme Court Intervening

The Supreme Court has released some surprising decisions regarding the border crisis. They recently sided with the Biden administration regarding the razor wire, allowing for the administration to start cutting it down.

Source: The Guardian/Supreme Court of the United States-US Supreme Court

However, they didn’t state that Abbott wasn’t allowed to continue to install it, and were careful not to discuss the legality of the issue. This is a common tactic with the Supreme Court, when facing an issue as controversial as the border: address the narrowest part of the issue to communicate the message.

Abbott Overstepping His Authority

The Biden administration has argued that Abbott is overstepping his boundaries as a state governor by taking such sweeping action regarding the border. Additionally, they have argued that the razor wire in particular has hampered federal agents’ access to critical portions of the border.

Source: Flickr/U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS)

Despite the Supreme Court’s opinion and the Biden administration pushing back, Abbott has continued to restrict access to certain parts of the border, and doesn’t appear ready to make any sort of deal with federal agents regarding the handling of the border.

Variability in Polling Support

While it is true that polling reveals that there is significant support regarding Abbott’s choices towards the border, that support varies in its strength. Of the 51% who support Abbott’s decisions, 35% strongly support him, while 16% offer more moderate support.

Source: Flickr/Alice Linahan Voices Empower

And all is not sunshine and roses for Abbott, either. The poll also revealed that 19% of votes “strongly disapprove” of the razor wire usage, 9% oppose it, and an additional 16% are neutral on the issue. Only 4% of individuals stated that they were undecided on the use of force at the border.

Pushing Donald Trump’s Narrative

Abbott has also pushed the narrative that he is taking other action on the border by actively enhancing border defenses. He repeated the claim from former President Donald Trump, that a wall is necessary to protect the southern border from illegal immigrants.

Source: Twitter/President Trump 45 Archived

He recently showcased a video from Starr County on X, formerly known as Twitter, showing the progress being made on the border. On January 30, he stated, “Border wall construction is ongoing along the Texas-Mexico border.”

Polling Reveals Interesting Arguments

Abbott’s persistence regarding the border issue seems to have several points, but one rises above all. In an increasingly divided political landscape, the border is an issue that is a deciding factor for many voters heading into the 2024 elections.

Source: Wikimedia Commons/Gage Skidmore

Polling reveals that Abbott may be on the right path there, as well. According to data, 57% of Texas voters feel that the Biden administration lacks control over the southern border, and an equal percentage blame the federal government for the border problems as they currently exist.

The Federal Government Slowly Moving

Biden has continued to urge Congress to take action regarding the border in light of some of the concerning numbers that have come out of Texas. While there has been some progress in the form of a bipartisan border security bill that actually made it out of committee, no new legislation is forthcoming yet.

Source: Flickr/U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS)

In the perceived absence of any action on the part of the Federal government, Abbott has taken the handling of the border crisis into his own hands. It’s clearly a strategy that is working with his voters, and it remains to be seen whether his policies will rise to national popularity in the coming weeks and months as well.