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‘Civil war’ narrative is false, Texas officials, Border Patrol union say


A narrative that a “civil war” or “cold war” between federal law enforcement officers and their state and local counterparts at the southern border in Texas – which has been circulating among a range of pundits – isn’t valid, Gov. Greg Abbott, Texas Department of Public Safety and the Border Patrol union argue.

The claim refers to a potential conflict between federal Border Patrol agents and Texas National Guard soldiers serving at the southern border. The Biden administration has ordered Border Patrol agents to tear down border barriers erected by Texas and release illegal foreign nationals into the U.S. Abbott has ordered Texas National Guard soldiers to block illegal entry by building even more barriers.

Three lawsuits have been filed over Texas’ border barriers in Eagle Pass. Despite threats by the Biden administration, Abbott has only expanded their construction with the full support of the state legislature.

The narrative suggests that because of policy differences, a violent conflict would erupt between federal agents and state and local law enforcement officers.

The narrative appears to have begun with a Center for Immigration Studies fellow, who claimed last year that “the migrant crisis is sparking an American civil war” and a “Cold Border War breaks out between Abbott’s Texas and Biden’s White House,” referring to the 44-year Cold War between the former USSR and United States.

Since then, “social media influencers,” some of whom may be paid to promote content, have made similar claims: “Joe Biden is about to start a Civil War over his treasonous handling of the border” and a “civil war is coming soon,” Newsweek reported about some of the claims.

The New York Times recently cited a “revivalist pastor” expressing fear of “civil war” who attended a trucker convoy at the Texas-Mexico border after Texas sheriffs warned the convoy not to come.

When asked at a news event earlier this month about the civil war rhetoric or worries about actions leading “to some kind of armed conflict,” Abbott replied, “That’s a false narrative. And that’s really nothing more than a narrative.”

“What we are actually seeking to do and what we are actually doing is … enforcing the laws of the United States of America,” the governor said. “What Americans want, whether it be the border or whether it be carjackings in Washington, D.C. or police officers being beat up in New York City, what Americans want is law and order. They want the laws of our country enforced. All we’re doing is enforcing the laws of the United States of America.”

DPS trooper Jaclyn Gooding, who is participating in Operation Lone Star border security efforts at the border, also pushed back against the civil war narrative. She told The Center Square, “whether it’s city, county, state, or federal law enforcement agencies, we all work together under the same common goal: helping each other however necessary.

“There is no animosity between boots in the field, between us and Border Patrol or National Guard or anything. We all share a common goal, and that’s to protect and serve Texas and the United States.

“Anything above our heads,” she said, referring to conflict over policy between the Biden administration and governors, “has nothing to do with people on the ground that are working together.”

When troopers are “on the ground pursuing gotaways, you’re going to radio in and talk to Border Patrol, and then we’re going to work together to find them,” Gooding said. “We both need each other. We share different assets that we each have.”

Gooding who covers the three remote rural counties of Val Verde, Kinney and Edwards, described what it was like in the beginning of Operation Lone Star before additional resources were surged to the border. Initially, troopers and sheriff’s deputies often worked on patrol alone. Due to a surge of resources from the state legislature and governors from other states sending personnel, this is less common now.

“It goes back to even how we started working when you might have one trooper working alone at night. Well, you’re going to buddy up with a sheriff’s deputy that’s working alone at night and a Border Patrol agent that’s alone on this one deserted road, and you’re all going to do your part. Whoever has the ability to stop the bad guy, that person’s going to do it with the backup of their teammates,” she told The Center Square.

She reiterated something she wants Americans to know: “There’s no animosity between Border Patrol, DPS or the National Guard. If anything, we’re grateful for the help of each other because at the end of the day, we really can’t do our jobs without each other.

“At the end of the day, we’re teammates and we’re friends outside of work. We back each other up 110% and consider each other friends. And at the end of the day, you keep your friends safe.”

She also described how unique border security operations are, and how in Texas, law enforcement has the support they need. Every day, we’re “trying to come up with the best ways we can protect our state, thinking outside of the box, because we’ve never done this kind of enforcement before.” For many reasons throughout the country, “it’s a tough time to want to go into law enforcement because of the lack of support, funding. But we are very lucky in DPS that funding has not been an issue for us” because of support from the governor and legislature.

Gooding, who also works in the aircraft division as a tactical flight officer, says her crew provides support for DPS, Border Patrol and “any of our local agencies because our goal is common. All of us have the same goal. Teamwork is really the best way that we can achieve those goals and providing each other whatever we can to help with the common goal.”

The Border Patrol union also agrees, saying that Border Patrol agents will not arrest Texas National Guardsmen “for following their LAWFUL orders. That’s fake news.” They all “work together and respect each other’s jobs. Period.”

Border Patrol agents “appreciate and respect” Texas’ efforts, the union said, “in the midst of this catastrophe that the Biden Admin has unleashed on America. We want to be perfectly clear, there is no fight between rank-and-file Border Patrol agents and the Texas National Guard, Gov. Abbott, or Texas DPS. It may make flashy headlines, but it simply isn’t true.”