With historically high waves of migration and no end in sight, multiple Texas counties on Tuesday declared the crisis an “invasion.” The hope is that making the official declaration will open legal avenues and put pressure on state and federal governments to act.
Leaders of Goliad, Kinney, and Uvalde counties said in a press release that they took “unprecedented steps in hopes of encouraging” those in power to acknowledge the crisis.
Their statement asked that necessary actions be taken to “protect the sovereignty and territorial integrity” of the state. They further declared support for Gov. Greg Abbott’s recent actions in the face of waves of migrants and asked that he also “declare an invasion” to protect Texas.
The announcement was held at the Kinney County Civic Center in Brackettville. Spearheading the event was Kinney County Judge Tully Shahan, who made a disaster declaration last year for his county that was followed by several others.
Supporters of the Tuesday announcement hope to put pressure on the Arizona state government as well. That state’s attorney general earlier this year declared its southern border to be under an “invasion.”
The legal opinion issued by Mark Brnovich said the “violence and lawlessness” triggered by cartels and gangs sufficed for the definition of an “invasion” under the Constitution. He added that the state has authority under its governor to take defensive actions.
One national organization threw its weight behind that opinion. The Center for Renewing America includes former Office of Management and Budget Director Russ Vought and former acting deputy DHS Secretary Ken Cuccinelli.
The organization urged states to use powers listed in Article 1 of the Constitution to order police or the National Guard to assist in expelling illegal migrants.
That idea has also gained traction among Texas Republicans, though Gov. Greg Abbott is reluctant to implement it. Some caution that it is on legally shaky ground, and so far Abbott has resisted. But border area counties besieged by the crisis have no such qualms.
The legality of border counties reacting to unchecked waves of migrants will certainly be tested in court. And whatever ultimate decision is reached, what is clear is that the local governments were pushed to act by the indifference of the Biden administration to the border crisis.