showdown between federal government and Texas over barbed wire on the border

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‘Civil War’ chatter reaches fever pitch online—as wave of Republican governors side with Texas over Biden, Supreme Court

Over a dozen Republican governors have backed Texas Gov. Abbott's SCOTUS defiance


Marlon Ettinger


Posted on Jan 25, 2024

A standoff between the federal government and Texas over border enforcement has had #CivilWar trending on X nearly all week—with over a dozen state governments joining ranks with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) over measures he’s had the Texas National Guard take to combat an alleged migrant “invasion.”

Those measures, which include barbed wire set up by the Texas National Guard on the American side of the U.S.-Mexican border at a Shelby Park riverbank in the Texas city of Eagle Pass, provoked a legal battle between the federal government and the Texas state government, which culminated in a Supreme Court ruling on Monday in favor of the Biden administration, reported the Texas Tribune.

Despite that decision, which affirmed the right of the federal government to enforce border policy, giving the go-ahead to the U.S. Border Patrol to cut down the barbed wire and assert their authority over the park and the border, Abbott hasn’t backed down.

In a statement posted to X on Wednesday, Abbott claimed that the federal government had “broken the compact between the United States and the States” by allegedly refusing to enforce current immigration laws.

“President Biden has ignored Texas’s demand that he perform his constitutional duties,” Abbott wrote in the statement, calling Biden “lawless” and citing what he called the foresight of James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and other American founding fathers to include measures in the Constitution allowing the states to assert a “sovereign interest” in defending their borders against “external threats like cartels smuggling millions of illegal immigrants across the border.”

That statement whipped chatter online about a civil war up to a fever pitch, with Republican governors including Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, Idaho Gov. Brad Little, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, Louisiana Gov. Jeff Landry, Missouri Gov. Mike Parson, Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte, Nebraska Gov. Jim Pillen, North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee, Utah Gov. Spencer Cox, Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin, and Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon, all posting statements in support of Abbott continuing to use the border patrol to police the border in defiance of the federal government.

“We are all border states now,” said Gordon in his post, with other governors like DeSantis and Reynolds talking about sending their other National Guard forces to help Texas.

Lee claimed that the government’s actions on the Southern border were “jeopardizing the safety of all Americans.”

“Tennessee has always stood with Texas, and we always will,” he wrote.

Conservatives viewed it as a very clear allusion to Tennessee and Texas aligning together with the Confederate States of America in the Civil War.

And plenty were in favor of calling up arms.

“Governor, call up for volunteers to send to Texas. We’ve done it before, we will do it again,” posted @0xAl3xC. “It’s time to stop this nonsense at the border.”

“America is on the brink of another civil war,” posted @HumbleFlow.

“The south shall rise again to fight for states rights,” replied @tired_sun_aeiou.

“My ancestors fought for the North last time,” added @FLSunbumm. “This time, I’m glad we’re in the South.”

Those calls from some posters endorsing a civil war if the federal government tried to assert its prerogative over border enforcement also provoked calls from liberals and Democrats to essentially bring it on.

“I’m not a ‘let’s do Civil War 2’ guy but if you’re the president you probably gotta swing the biggest hammer you got at shit like this,” posted @crulge. “Shoot some tear gas canisters into a crowd of fat red racists, etc.”

“The Government of Texas needs to be crushed,” posted @Solidarity_Star in response to Abbott’s statement. “Full steam ahead.”

Others joked that the showdown had them reconsidering their opinion of Biden.

“I’ve always thought Biden was gonna be a bad president but not in my wildest dreams did I imagine he would be a ‘collapse of the union’ bad president,” posted @CHECKYSTOMPER69.

Currently on X, the Civil War trending topic has over 100,000 posts, a level that’s been consistent ever since the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Biden. 

Users shared maps of the current state breakdown, which some predicted could soon be the potential frontlines. 

Summed up one user sarcastically about the state of affairs: “30% of states announcing an alliance to disregard federal law in an election year seems fine.”

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*First Published: Jan 25, 2024, 4:02 pm CST