Utah Gov. Spencer Cox is joining 14 other GOP governors heading to Texas this weekend to tour the nation’s southern border and hold a press conference to protest President Joe Biden’s border policies.

Utah Gov. Spencer Cox delivers the 2024 State of the State address Thursday evening in Salt Lake City, Utah, Jan. 18, 2024 | Screenshot image courtesy of PBS Utah, St. George News

Cox’s office announced the governor’s planned trip Thursday in a news release, which referred to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s statement issued last week declaring an “invasion” at the border “to invoke Texas’s constitutional authority to defend and protect itself.”

Abbott has accused Biden of refusing to “perform his duties to secure the border.”

The dispute between Texas and the White House has been escalating in recent weeks. Last month, after three people — a migrant mother and two children — drowned in the Rio Grande, the Biden administration said state officials acted unconstitutionally by blocking federal agents from a section of the border, the Guardian reported. Officials in Texas, meanwhile, challenged the federal government’s version of events as “wholly inaccurate.”

Meanwhile, a bipartisan Senate immigration deal months in the making is in jeopardy after former President Donald Trump has pushed Republicans to oppose it, as he continues campaigning on problems at the border in his 2024 bid to return to the White House.

The 15 governors’ press conference will take place Sunday at 2:30 p.m. Central Time at Shelby Park in Eagle Pass, Texas. It will occur after they receive a briefing on the “Operation Lone Star mission to secure the border,” according to Thursday’s news release.

Also in attendance will be Freeman Martin, deputy director of the Texas Department of Public Safety; Adjutant General of Texas Major General Thomas Suelzer, and Texas Border Czar Mike Banks.

Last month, Cox was among 25 GOP governors behind a letter supporting Texas and the state’s “constitutional right to self-defense” at the nation’s southern border.

Utah Gov. Spencer Cox and his wife Abby Cox greet President Joe Biden after he arrives at Roland R. Wright International Guard Base, Wednesday in Salt Lake City, Aug. 9, 2023 | Photo by Alex Brandon, The Associated Press, St. George News

In their letter, members of the Republican Governors Association blame President Joe Biden’s administration for refusing to take action addressing the border crisis, instead suing the state.

The U.S. Supreme Court in January ordered Texas to allow federal border agents access to the border, where the state has placed miles of razor wire to deter migrants. Texas had sued the federal government after Border Patrol agents cut some of the wire.

The governors said that because the Biden administration has failed to stop the “historic levels of illegal immigrants, deadly drugs like fentanyl, and terrorists entering our country, Texas has a constitutional right to defend itself and the nation.

“We stand in solidarity with our fellow Governor, Greg Abbott, and the State of Texas in utilizing every tool and strategy, including razor wire fences, to secure the border. We do it in part because the Biden Administration is refusing to enforce immigration laws already on the books and is illegally allowing mass parole across America of migrants who entered our country illegally,” the governors wrote.

Who will be in Texas?

The governors expected to join Sunday’s press conference include:

Utah Gov. Spencer Cox; Texas Gov. Greg Abbott; Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders; Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp; Idaho Gov. Brad Little; Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb; Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds; Louisiana Gov. Jeff Landry; Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves; Missouri Gov. Mike Parson; Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte; Nebraska Gov. Jim Pillen; New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu; South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem; Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee.

Written by KATIE McKELLAR, Utah News Dispatch

Utah News Dispatch is part of States Newsroom, a nonprofit news network supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Utah News Dispatch maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor McKenzie Romero for questions: info@utahnewsdispatch.com. Follow Utah News Dispatch on Facebook and Twitter.

Copyright Utah News Dispatch, all rights reserved.