By BETHANY BLANKLEY
THE CENTER SQUARE CONTRIBUTOR
(The Center Square) – Live Oak County has declared an invasion at the southern border, bringing the total to 11 counties that have done so since July 5.
The county is located just south of Atascosa County and two counties west of Goliad County, both of which have already issued invasion declarations.
Its county judge and four county commissioners declared an invasion weeks before the latest county, Tyler County, did so on Aug. 15.
The Center Square is updating its tally of county declarations as they are made public. More counties are expected to declare an invasion in the coming days and weeks.
Live Oak County Judge Jim Hoff and county commissioners Richard Lee, Donna Kopplin Mills, Mitchell Williams and Emilio Garza passed and adopted a resolution on July 29 after they first proposed their resolution on May 10.
The resolution declares a local disaster for the county “resulting from the imminent threat of disaster from the unprecedented levels of illegal immigration, human trafficking, and drug smuggling across the U.S. border from Mexico.” The disaster declaration will continue until the judge determines otherwise.
Judge Hoff determined that “the ongoing border crisis constitutes that of an invasion of Texas and that extraordinary measures must be taken to ensure the protection of the health, safety, and welfare of county residents.”
Tyler County in deep east Texas was the latest county to declare an invasion after the Republican Party of Texas declared an invasion just days before.
Other counties in east Texas are expected to follow Tyler County’s lead, which expressed support for Texas border counties that are “experiencing local disaster situations as a result of inadequate border security.” The county also expressed “its desire for stronger border security measures, which impact all of our Texas communities.”
Other counties’ resolutions cite Article 1, Section 10 of the U.S. Constitution and Article IV, Section 7 of the Texas Constitution as justification for Texas to defend itself as a sovereign state when they argue the federal government has failed to meet its constitutional duty to “insure domestic tranquility,” “provide for the common defense,” “execute the laws” and “protect each (State) against invasion.”
Kinney, Goliad, Terrell, Edwards, and Presidio counties and the city of Uvalde were the first to declare an invasion on July 5.
The judges of Terrell and Presidio counties, both Hispanic women, were lifelong Democrats until they declared a disaster and an invasion in their counties as a result of their residents being overrun with crime stemming from foreign nationals entering their counties illegally. They are now both running for reelection as Republicans.
Jeff Davis County’s judge had issued a declaration July 6 but its county commissioners didn’t vote in favor of it. Uvalde County had expressed interest in declaring an invasion but has yet to do so.
Parker, Atascosa and Wise counties also declared an invasion, expressing solidarity with Kinney County and other border counties.
Gov. Greg Abbott has issued numerous executive orders to expand the state’s response to what he calls President Joe Biden’s “border crisis” but has stopped short of calling it an invasion. Instead, he recently directed state law enforcement to apprehend illegal border crossers and deliver them to ports of entry.
“Texas Republicans are calling on him to take his commitment to defending our border a step farther, declare an invasion, and direct state officers to deliver illegal aliens back over the border,” Texas GOP Chairman Matt Rinaldi said when he announced the party’s declaration. “This is necessary to defend the safety and sovereignty of our state.”
Kinney County Attorney Brent Smith, who’s led the movement among the counties, told The Center Square that “the significance of other counties also declaring an invasion cannot be overstated.”
Every county is threatened “by the federal government’s abandonment of its constitutional duty,” Mr. Smith said, which is why he’s encouraging every county in Texas “to acknowledge the crisis is an invasion.” There are 254 counties in Texas.
“If Texans don’t save Texas, no one will,” he said.