Op-ed: Will The Kickapoo Tribe Be Dragged Into The Abbott-Biden Fray Over Illegal Immigration?

With Abbott shutting down Shelby Park in Eagle Pass, illegal border crossings are spiking down the road on tribal lands.

By Todd Bensman on February 15, 2024

KICKAPOO NATION, Texas — By now, anyone following President Joe Biden’s historic mass illegal immigration has heard about Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s battle with the administration over border fencing at the Eagle Pass region.

The legal fight over concertina wire and anti-climb fencing threatens to spiral into a constitutional crisis. For now, neither side, including the illegal immigrants, appears to be making a move at the highly fortified Shelby Park area of Eagle Pass, ground zero in the fencing fight.

But an almost perfect new route appears to have opened a dozen miles downstream on the Rio Grande to get immigrants around the Texans at Eagle Pass, sources close to the tribe tell me. This area is potentially a new floodgate that Abbott would be challenged to oppose but would greatly please open-border Democrats and political appointees.

The small 120-acre reservation abuts the Rio Grande in western Maverick County just south of Eagle Pass and sports a bustling and profitable slots-only casino on its northern edge. As of press time, comment requests to the Kickapoo Tribe went unanswered.

But one official in a position to know Kickapoo country said the illegal crossing numbers on that land have skyrocketed from the usual one or two per day to more than 400 and up to 500 on a weekend. It was always easier to cross elsewhere in the area.

The tribe’s website describes its 1,095 enrolled members as one of three federally recognized tribes of Kickapoo people. The tribe was also recognized in 1977 by the Texas Indian Commission. Other members are scattered on tribal lands in Oklahoma, Kansas, and northern Mexico.

With all that is going on just up the river from the reservation, pitch-perfect circumstances in and around the tribal land point to far larger numbers of immigrants who likely will begin to cross here. Higher traffic threatens to drag the highly private Kickapoo Tribe, whose name has barely been uttered amid border crisis chaos, into the Biden-Abbott fray and expose the tribe to angry public criticism from those opposed to open-borders policies. . . .

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[Read the rest at The Federalist]