Videos on Thursday showed a staggeringly unexpected sight within the US – dozens of migrants storming the El Paso border, and the National Guard was overrun. This situation highlights the tensions in Texas and other border states. Let’s examine what this means in the big picture.

A Massive Problem

According to officials, the southwest land border saw nearly 150,000 migrants cross into the state throughout December. That number had dropped to around 69,000 in January.

Source: Flickr/Russ McSpadden

Compared to other border states, Texas had far higher numbers of immigrants, leading to state officials wanting to take matters into their own hands when dealing with the problem.

Immigration Is a Federal Concern

Governor Greg Abbott has tried to legislate within the state for the capture and deportation of illegal immigrants since he believes that the federal government isn’t helping the situation.

Source: Flickr/William Warby

Unfortunately for Abbott, most of his attempts have been stonewalled. The state is facing litigation on several legislative decisions he made at the state level, attempting to supersede federal rulings.

Federal Government Unconcerned

So why are Abbott and other conservative governors attempting to pass laws they know will be struck down by appeals to the Supreme Court? Their reasoning lies with the current US immigration policy.

Source: Flickr/Speaker John Boehner

The Biden administration has welcomed immigrants into the country, even illegal ones. This recently came to a head when an illegal immigrant murdered a young nursing student.

Riot Claimed to be Caused By Deportations

According to on-site reporters, many of the immigrants were unhappy about the situation because they were constantly being returned to Mexico despite trying to leave.

Source: YouTube

The reality of the situation is far more complicated than this. Some people are fleeing cartels, others are fleeing the government, and yet others are looking for a better life for themselves and their kids.

Absolute Chaos At The El Paso Border

Another reporter on the scene recorded where the immigrants tore down the fence at the border and broke through. They described the situation as “absolute chaos” as immigrants poured through.

Source: X/channel3nownews

An earlier report claims that the Texas National Guard pushed the immigrants south of the border in the middle of the night, and the immigrants surged past the wire as the sun came up.

Not As Simple As Breaking Down the Barrier

While many Americans might think that all it takes for immigrants to get into the US is to break down a flimsy wire fence, the truth is far different. The fence is just the first line of defense.

Source: Flickr/Jonathan McIntosh

Beyond the fence is a crossing area that immigrants must cover that is open to observation from all directions. The final hurdle to cross is a massive wall at El Paso, making it difficult to “break into” the country.

Many Migrants Brave the Wall Anyway

The wall is a massive structure, with some areas as high as thirty feet tall. El Paso is a popular migrant destination as it’s relatively easy to get to the wall. However, it doesn’t always end well.

Source: Flickr/Travis Wise

There have been a lot of reports of immigrants showing up in the city with severe injuries from scaling the wall and falling down the other side.

Conservatives May Use This For Political Gain

Some commentators note that Abbott and others who have a vested interest in keeping the border closed will use this situation to raise support for more border patrols.

Source: Flickr/Steve Goodyear

Conservative governors along the southern border have been begging Congress to give them funding for border patrols. The Biden administration has been holding off on funding these measures.

Texas Could Take a Page from Florida

In Florida, another southern border state, governor Ron DeSantis has flipped the idea of illegal immigrants around, threatening to move thousands of Haitian migrants to sanctuary states.

Source: Flickr/Óglaigh na hÉireann

While Texas doesn’t have a sophisticated migrant transport network like Florida’s, it can borrow the idea or at least propose it to leverage Congress’ funding.

A Problem Of Their Own Making

Those following national debates would know this border issue could have been resolved earlier. In previous bills, the Biden administration had proposed funding alongside aid for allies.

Source: Flickr/World Travel and Tourism Council

Unfortunately, conservative lawmakers declined to sign those bills because they opposed the US support of certain allies, citing it as wasted money abroad—money, they argue, that could be used at the border.

A National Crisis?

Conservatives like to paint the migrant “flood” as a national crisis. Yet some of this is hyperbolic rhetoric to get the American populous worried enough to vote a Republican into office.

Source: Flickr/ashabot

When he was president, Donald Trump enacted some draconian laws to punish illegal immigrants and made it hard for them to gain citizenship in the country.

Immigrants Contribute Significantly to the US

As many people have pointed out, the US is a nation of immigrants. Making it easier for those immigrants to become full citizens and enjoy the protection the US provides is a good move.

Source: Flickr

Unfortunately, the sheer number of migrants stresses many states’ ability to cope. Massachusetts recently said that their migrant shelters are full to capacity.

A Middle Ground Is Needed

States are suffering from the influx of migrants, which will continue because of social and political unrest in South and Central America and Africa. Wanton deportation is not the way forward.

Source: Flickr/Flazingo Photos

Instead, the federal government should consider offering some funding to those states, retaining more funding as a bargaining chip to get their reforms and grants to allies passed in the House.

No Solution In Sight

The “riot” at the El Paso border will become an example that conservatives hold up to show why illegal immigrants are bad, even if the reason behind it might not be so cut and dry. It will stir up more support for the conservative cause that funding is needed to protect the southern border adequately.

Source: Flickr/gerlos

Even if the methodology is wrong, the conclusion that more funding is needed for the border is correct. However, Abbott and other conservative governors might not get what they want immediately, which could lead to more schemes like this being enacted across the southern border.