Did Gov. Abbott Declare an 'Invasion' at the Southern Border?

The Texas governor’s Tuesday statement referred to an executive order he issued in July and some unrelated border security measures.

Written by Hudson Crozier

What happened: Texas Gov. Greg Abbott tweeted Tuesday that he had “invoked the Invasion Clauses of the U.S. & Texas Constitutions,” listing several “unprecedented measures” his administration is taking against illegal immigration.

Background: Given the Biden administration’s continual neglect of the border crisis, dozens of Texas counties have urged Abbott to invoke emergency “invasion” powers under the U.S. and state Constitutions and “repel” migrants with or without the federal government’s approval. His tweet was a reiteration of an executive order issued in July that supposedly invoked the invasion clauses to mobilize Texas’ National Guard and Department of Public Safety.

Nothing is changing: Abbott’s administration clarified after the tweet that nothing about Texas’ immigration policy is changing. The July order only authorizes Texas’ military and law enforcement to return migrants “to the border at a port of entry” and makes no mention of deportations. Other parts of the tweet listed decisions that are unrelated to an invasion declaration, such as the construction of a border wall, which began last year.

Why it matters: Despite spending billions of taxpayer dollars on border security, the Republican governor has been criticized for a “catch and release” strategy that allows illegal border crossings to continue at historic rates. County officials are still asking him to make full use of the invasion clauses to defend Texas’ sovereignty, but he has expressed concern about conflict with the federal government.

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