(The Center Square) – After General Land Commissioner Dr. Dawn Buckingham declared that islands in the middle of the Rio Grande River near Eagle Pass and Fronton, Texas, as Texas land, Texas Department of Public Safety troopers erected Texas flags as part of the state’s border security mission Operation Lone Star.
Months later, after an influx of Venezuelans descended on Eagle Pass this past week, a Venezuelan flag was erected on one of the islands that Buckingham declared is Texas land. The act was seen as a brazen defiance of Texas sovereignty, at a time when judges and commissioners have declared an invasion in nearly 50 counties and over 50 counties have issued disaster declarations, citing an unsustainable border crisis.
“It is my commitment to Texans to do everything in my power to gain complete operational control of the southern border,” Buckingham, a seventh-generation Texan, said earlier this month when announcing additional ways she’d expanded Texas territory.
In April, she appears to have been the first land commissioner to expand Texas’ acreage by over 215 acres. After she did, DPS troopers erected a Texas flag on an island south of Eagle Pass, in a video obtained by The Center Square.
After @DrBuckinghamTX first declared in April two islands in the Rio Grande River were Texas land, Texas DPS erected Texas flags there. Through @GovAbbott Operation Lone Star, container barriers were also put up along the river to prevent illegal entry in the area, as well as… pic.twitter.com/kmmdMl2Wjw— Bethany Blankley (@BethanyBlankley) September 8, 2023
Border security was one of Buckingham’s key platforms when she ran to become the first female commissioner of the first agency established after the Texas Revolution of 1836. She was elected last November after serving in the Texas Senate.
The land commissioner is the oldest position in Texas, predating the position of governor as well as other heads of agencies established by annexation in 1845. After Texans won independence in the Texas Revolution, and after Texas became a state in 1846, Texans helped win the Mexican American War.
The 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo not only resulted in Mexico ceding land to Texas but also ceding its land to the U.S. that would become the states of Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah. When Texas became a state, it owned its own public land. Unlike other Gulf states, Texas also owned its own tidelands, which stretch roughly over 10 miles into the Gulf of Mexico.
By 1846, those living on the land that would become the state of Texas had been under the governments of six flags.
Venezuela’s flag wasn’t, and isn’t, one of them.
A Venezuelan who entered the U.S. illegally erected a Venezuelan flag on a Texas island south of Eagle Pass. On Monday, DPS Lt. Chris Olivarez posted a video of the flag being taken down saying Venezuelans “decided to claim a Texas island by placing a foreign flag,” which was “quickly taken care of by our DPS Tactical Marine Unit.”
The #EaglePass area continues to experience an influx of illegal immigrants – the majority from Venezuela. Some decided to claim a #Texas island by placing a foreign flag – that was quickly taken care of by our DPS Tactical Marine Unit. #DontMessWithTexas pic.twitter.com/mslxjXIyEC— Chris Olivarez (@LtChrisOlivarez) September 25, 2023
In response, Buckingham told The Center Square, “Planting a foreign flag on U.S. soil disrespects our veterans who bravely served our country and those who have made the ultimate sacrifice. I will continue to fight to secure our border at all costs even in the face of Biden’s policies that embolden foreign nationals to disrespect the freedoms that are paramount to our nation’s security and safety.”