42 Texas counties urge Gov. Abbott to declare an invasion at southern border
A county judge calls on Texas Governor Greg Abbott "to make a formal declaration of invasion thereby invoking the state authority under the invasion clause of the U.S. Constitution."
The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook
At least 42 counties have now declared an invasion or expressed support for Texas declaring an invasion at the southern border.
More are in the process of making similar declarations, according to sources who’ve spoken to The Center Square.
Harrison County’s commissioners and Judge Chad Sims signed a resolution Dec. 20 expressing support for “our Texas county partners,” expressing support for border counties “experiencing local disaster situations as a result of inadequate border security.”
They also cited Article IV, Section 7 of the Texas Constitution that authorizes the governor to “call forth the militia to execute the laws of the state, to suppress insurrections and to repel invasions.” Their resolution describes Mexican cartels as “paramilitary, narco-terrorist organizations that profit from trafficking people and drugs into the U.S.” who are creating a security threat and humanitarian disaster “with overwhelming consequences to residents in the State of Texas.”
They also expressed support for Gov. Greg Abbott expanding his border security mission, Operation Lone Star, to address a crisis created by the federal government’s failure to uphold its constitutional duty to “insure domestic tranquility” and “provide for the common defense,” according to the resolution.
Franklin County Judge Scott Lee signed a resolution Oct. 24 “calling for additional border security measures to stop the invasion at our southern border to protect Texas communities,” also citing the invasion clauses of the U.S. and Texas constitutions granting the governor the authority to defend Texas’ border. His resolution states “transnational narco-terrorist cartels … have seized de facto operational control between the points of entry on the southern Texas border facilitating massive human smuggling, trafficking, operations, a deadly drug trade, including fentanyl,” among other illegal activity.
But his resolution appears to be the only one reviewed by The Center Square that specifically calls for the governor, attorney general and state legislature to take action.
Lee calls on “the Texas governor to make a formal declaration of invasion thereby invoking the state authority under the invasion clause of the U.S. Constitution, Article 1, Section 10, Clause 3.”
He also calls on the governor “as the Commander-in-Chief of the Texas National Guard” to activate and deploy it and other state assets “to detain and return illegal aliens back across the border, turn back illegal aliens crossing from Mexico at the border, and defend Texas against cartel operatives, human traffickers and drug mules moving deadly fentanyl into Texas towns and communities.”
Scott also called on “the Attorney General of Texas to prepare immediate briefs to counter the federal government’s attempts to prevent Texas from defending its southern border” and the Texas legislature “to pass legislation that actively serves as a deterrent to illegal migration. Texas lawmakers should pass laws that protect Texas communities with a pro citizen agenda that sends a decisive message to all cartel members, illegal aliens, and the federal government alike.”
While Abbott cited the invasion clauses in a Nov. 14 letter to county judges and in a Nov. 16 letter to President Joe Biden, he has yet to declare a formal invasion or announce a military strategy to repel it.
Two days after the judges of Kinney, Goliad and Terrell counties first declared an invasion July 5, 2022, Abbott issued an executive order directing the heads of the Texas Military Department and Department of Public Safety to apprehend illegal foreign nationals and return them to ports of entry, actions they’ve already been taking. Unless those who are apprehended are arrested for committing state crimes and detained in county or state facilities, state policy of handing them over to Border Patrol agents hasn’t changed.
Under Biden administration policy, the majority apprehended by Border Patrol agents are released into the U.S., prompting Florida to file suit in a case its currently making before a federal court.
After being reelected in November, Gov. Abbott sent letters to county judges referring to his July 7 executive order and tweeted content from the letter, prompting many news outlets to misreport that he’d declared an invasion.
Since last July, the judges and commissioners who’ve signed resolutions or issued declarations of invasion represent the counties of Atascosa, Burnet, Chambers, Clay, Collin, Ector, Edwards, Ellis, Fannin, Franklin, Goliad, Hamilton, Hardin, Harrison, Hood, Hunt, Jack, Jasper, Johnson, Kinney, Lavaca, Leon, Liberty, Live Oak, Madison, McMullen, Montague, Navarro, Orange, Parker, Presidio, Shackelford, Somervell, Terrell, Throckmorton, Tyler, Van Zandt, Waller, Wharton, Wichita, Wilson, and Wise.
Some passed resolutions declaring support to secure the border. Some judges issued declarations of disaster in which they declare an invasion in their county and or in Texas. Some disaster declarations, like those passed by Ector and Rockwall counties, were only good for seven days. Ector’s was amended to have no expiration date; Rockwall’s expired.
Jeff Davis County’s judge was among the first to express support for declaring an invasion but its commissioners didn’t. Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin is the only mayor in Texas or the U.S. to declare an invasion.
The Republican Party of Texas has also called on the governor to declare an invasion; the Texas Public Policy Foundation has expressed support for Texas declaring an invasion.
They’ve done so as nearly 1.8 million people from over 150 countries were apprehended or reported evading capture from Border Patrol agents in Texas alone in fiscal 2022, the greatest number in state history. Through OLS, Texas law enforcement have seized enough fentanyl to kill everyone in the U.S.
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