Texas governor declares invasion at border, invokes constitutional powers in historic action
Abbott says he took unprecendented action to "keep our state & country safe."
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Frustrated by an unending crisis fueled by drug and human trafficking at the southern border, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Tuesday declared his state was under an invasion and invoked special powers granted under the U.S. and Texas constitutions.
Abbott's decision came after three dozen counties in his state passed resolutions calling for the dramatic action. The Republican governor said the declaration allows him to send National Guard troops to the border, treat drug cartels as terrorist organizations and build his own border wall separate of the federal government,
"I invoked the Invasion Clauses of the U.S. & Texas Constitutions to fully authorize Texas to take unprecedented measures to defend our state against an invasion," Abbott tweeted in his announcement. "I'm using that constitutional authority, & other authorization & Executive Orders to keep our state & country safe."
Abbott wrote in a letter to county officials the invocation of the constitutional powers was authorized by an executive order he signed back in July. His tweet Tuesday was the first time he publicly claimed he was invoking the invasion clauses of the U.S. and state constitutions.
Abbott previously garnered national headlines by busing thousands of illegal migrants to blue cities such as Chicago, New York and Washington D.C. But his new action Tuesday marked a major escalation that carries both political and legal consequences.
Abbott said his executive order had allowed him to:
- Deploy the National Guard to the border to repel illegal immigrants, and the Texas Department of Public Safety to arrest and return illegal entrants to their home countries;
- Build a border wall in multiple counties;
- Deploy gun boats to secure the border;
- Designate Mexican drug cartels as foreign terrorist organizations;
- Enter into a compact with other states to secure the border;
- Enter into agreements with foreign powers to enhance border security;
- And provide resources for border counties to increase their efforts to respond to the border invasion.