Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R) is considering invoking war powers to expand the state's authority to manage the southern border by officially declaring an "invasion" - verbiage which would comply with a clause in the US Constitution that says states are prohibited from engaging in war except when "actually invaded."
Top lawyers for Mr. Abbott and for the Texas attorney general, Ken Paxton, met this month to debate the move, which would put the state in a head-on collision with the federal government by allowing state police to arrest and deport migrants, according to two people familiar with the discussions. Mr. Abbott says he remains open to the approach, but he has expressed concern about unintended consequences. -NYT
"If we do use this strategy, it could expose law enforcement in the state of Texas to being prosecuted," said Abbott during a recent press converence. "Is it something we’re looking into? Yes," he added.
Abbott has already mobilized thousands of National Guard troops to patrol the border, and ordered safety inspections of incoming trucks from Mexico - a short-lived program after it caused massive gridlock and disrupted international trade. He's also overseen the construction of around 20 miles of new border fencing at key ares. What's more, Abbott repurposed several state prisons to hold migrants charged with trespassing.
Perhaps most famously, Abbott recently began busing migrants from Texas to Washington DC.
The New York Times echoes the Biden administration, which has framed Abbott's immigration policy as nothing more than a political stunt, writing that his "aggressive posture has done little to stem the tide and also exposed him to fierce criticism that he is using his authority to meddle in a policy area that belongs to the federal government," however they acknowledge that his attempts to tighten border security along the state's 1,254 mile border have helped him hold off political challengers.
Federal agents recorded nearly 129,000 crossings into Texas in March, about 11,000 more than during the same month last year, when Mr. Abbott began the effort known as Operation Lone Star. The biggest increase occurred in an area of the border that includes Eagle Pass, a sun-faded city of 28,000 people, numerous stray cats and dogs and few resources to spare.
Costs have been mounting. Just maintaining the National Guard deployment through the summer will require another $531 million, state officials said this month. A 22-year-old soldier assigned to the mission drowned last week while attempting to rescue two migrants in swift water. -NYT
While immigration levels have been out of control in recent years, Texas officials are bracing for an even larger influx of illegal immigrants when the Biden administration ends a Trump-era policy known as Title 42 - which used the pandemic to justify turning back hordes of asylum seekers.
The current surge in migrants kicked off with the election of President Biden, which was taken as a virtual green light to flood into the country without the same level of border security as former President Donald Trump employed.
Now, Abbott is under pressure to do more as Biden pull back.
"Lone Star hasn’t moved the needle one iota for the simple reason that they’re not returning people to Mexico," said former Trump DHS official Ken Cuccinelli, a vocal proponent of declaring an invasion.
The White House has pushed back against Texas, with Press Secretary Jen Psaki saying that the state "does not need to replace C.B.P. at the southern border," referring to the federal Customs and Border Protection Agency.
We wonder which political party the immigrants will support, should they be granted amnesty at some point in the future?