For nearly a year, conservatives in Texas have been calling on state Attorney General Ken Paxton and Gov. Greg Abbott to declare the influx of people and drugs illegally entering Texas as an invasion.
It’s been a month since Republican state Rep. Matt Krause, chair of the Committee on General Investigating, requested Paxton to provide a legal opinion on the matter. He asked Paxton to determine if the federal government has failed to uphold its obligations to protect Texas from invasion under Article IV, Section 4 of the U.S. Constitution and whether Texas has the sovereign power to defend itself from invasion.
Responses usually take a minimum of 180 days. However, speculation continues over whether Paxton will issue an opinion before the May 24 runoff election after not receiving 50% of the vote in the March 1 primary election.
Krause and others have told The Center Square the AG’s office is working on the opinion. Paxton’s office didn’t respond to requests for comment.
“The situation at the border is unsustainable and only getting worse,” Krause told The Center Square. “It’s the reason I asked our attorney general for an opinion on whether the federal government has violated its constitutional duty in Article 4, Section 4 and whether an invasion has occurred. Action must be taken now.”
Republican Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich was the first attorney general in U.S. history to issue an opinion declaring an invasion. He argued the Biden administration has failed in its constitutional obligation to protect Arizona from an invasion and the governor has the constitutional authority to defend Arizona. Gov. Doug Ducey, however, has not yet declared an invasion.
“When the courts have not issued an opinion on an important issue, then the attorney general’s opinion has the effect of law until a court overturns it,” Texas Congressman Louie Gohmert, who ran against Paxton in the Republican primary and lost, told The Center Square.
At a law enforcement roundtable in San Antonio last week, Abbott told reporters he’d been looking into the invasion opinion since he was attorney general prior to becoming governor. He said, “There are some issues that we’re looking at that we’ve been provided no answer on.”
But Kinney County Attorney Brent Smith told The Center Square, “The solution to our border crisis already exists in the Texas and U.S. constitutions. The question is whether our elected officials will govern according to the constitution and preserve our state. Texas is running out of time.”
Smith has called on Paxton and Abbott to declare the border crisis an invasion since last June.
Kinney County, which shares a 16-mile border with Mexico, was the first county to issue an emergency disaster declaration last April over the border crisis. It continues to be “threatened with imminent harm by the continual occurrences of human smuggling and sex trafficking being carried out by criminal organizations,” Smith said. “Federal courts have recognized that such trafficking carried out by criminal organizations along our southern border threatens the safety and security of our nation and its citizens.”
“We are in the midst of an active invasion the Biden administration is inviting,” Sheena Rodriguez, president of Secure the Border, told The Center Square. “The state of Texas cannot depend on the federal government to uphold its duty to protect Texans.
“Texas has the constitutional and moral obligation to defend its citizens when the federal government won’t. The authority is there. The question is, do our elected state officials have the grit and fortitude to do what is right and necessary to protect Texans?”
Referring to those entering Texas illegally, Abbott also told reporters last week, “These are people who already have papers to roam freely into the United States. As soon as we drop them off across the border, they would just come right back across the border. And so all we would be doing is creating a revolving door.”
But by busing illegal immigrants to Washington, D.C., Abbott’s actions are no different than those of the administration’s, critics argue. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki thanked Abbott for “helping them get to their final destination as they await the outcome of their immigration proceedings.”
Former chair of the Republican Party of Texas, Lt. Col. Allen West (Ret.), asked, “who pays for this ‘stuck on stupid’ idea? Busses? Gas? Food? Is this what the budget surplus will be used for instead of property tax relief?
“You don’t stop an invasion by transporting the invading entity,” he said. Article 4, Section 7 of the Texas Constitution directs the governor “to ‘repel invasions,’ not bus them.”
“It is way past time for Gov. Abbott to immediately to proclaim this an invasion, declare an emergency, convene our legislature, and invoke the Constitutional provision that would allow local law enforcement and National Guard troops to stop migrants at the border and send them back to Mexico,” JoAnn Fleming, executive director of Grassroots America-We The People, told The Center Square.
‘This situation worsens every day and giving voluntary trips to D.C. on the taxpayers’ dime will not solve it. Governors have the constitutional authority and a duty to protect their states from invasion.”