By BETHANY BLANKLEY
THE CENTER SQUARE CONTRIBUTOR
(The Center Square) — The Republican Party of Texas has declared an invasion at the southern border.
Its chair, Matt Rinaldi, is calling on Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, and on all Texas counties to do the same.
Nine counties and one mayor already have declared an invasion, with more expected to follow in Texas’ 254 counties.
Two judges who declared an invasion, life-long Democrats and Hispanic women, are now running for re-election as Republicans in November.
“Arizona will declare an invasion in January. Texas should today,” Mr. Rinaldi wrote in a column published by Newsweek. He’s referring to Arizona GOP gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake, who after she won her party’s nomination, vowed to declare an invasion. Mr. Rinaldi, who thinks Ms. Lake will be elected as Arizona’s next governor, has called on Gov. Abbott to declare an invasion.
Gov. Abbott has issued numerous executive orders to expand Texas’ response to what he calls “Biden’s border crisis” but has stopped short of calling it an invasion. Instead, Gov. Abbott most 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,” Mr. Rinaldi said. “This is necessary to defend the safety and sovereignty of our state.”
While Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich issued a formal opinion declaring an invasion in February, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office has not done so. His office appears to be at odds with other legal experts who argue the U.S. Constitution and Texas Constitution grant Gov. Abbott the authority to declare and repel an invasion.
Like the Texas counties and AG Brnovich who’ve declared an invasion, Mr. Rinaldi points to Article I, Section 10, Clause 3 of the U.S. Constitution as justification for Gov. Abbott to do so. It states, “No State shall, without the Consent of Congress, lay any Duty of Tonnage, keep Troops, or Ships of War in time of Peace, enter into any Agreement or Compact with another State, or with a foreign Power, or engage in War, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent Danger as will not admit of delay.”
Mr. Rinaldi says Gov. Abbott has done more than any other governor to secure the southern border but argues he can do more.
“Thus far, no governor in America has done more to secure the southern border than Texas’ Greg Abbott,” he said. “Under Abbott’s leadership, Texas has allocated billions in additional border security funding and deployed the Texas National Guard to assist in apprehending illegal aliens who cross the border. But so long as the Biden administration is committed to open borders, that effort amounts to state participation in the Democrats’ preferred outcome: catch and release.”
Mr. Rinaldi is likely referring to Gov. Abbott’s directive to law enforcement officers to deliver illegal foreign nationals to ports of entry or bus them to Washington, D.C., and New York City, instead of dropping them off in Mexico or preventing them from entering at all.
“We cannot afford to stand by any longer,” Mr. Rinaldi wrote. “We cannot afford to rely on Washington to secure the Texas border. We cannot wait for Arizona to lead.”
In June, at the Texas GOP Convention in Houston, Republican delegates voted to add stopping the invasion as a legislative priority.
Democrat Robert “Beto” O’Rourke, who’s running against Abbott in November, argues the governor is “all about stunts.”
“This partial wall that he’s built, it’s done nothing,” Mr. O’Rourke told Fox News Digital. “Involuntarily activating 10,000 members of the Guard, costing us billions of dollars. Busing migrants to D.C. and New York, I guess it’s a good publicity stunt. I don’t know that it’s made us any safer, more secure.”
Instead, Mr. O’Rourke has proposed alternatives to Gov. Abbott’s border security measures, including a Texas-based guest worker program.
“If you want to come here and pick onions, work in the cotton gin, work some job we’re unable to fill otherwise, there should be a safe, legal, orderly path for you to be able to do that today,” he said. “Today, there is not. If you want to join (your) family, and you’re in a 20-year line in order to do that, let’s look at lifting the per-country caps that we have. If you want to claim asylum, we want to adjudicate that, and if you pass that adjudication, you can stay.
“If you want to come here, you have to follow the law,” he added. “But I want to make sure that our laws follow our values, our interests and our needs right here in Texas. Those are solutions instead of stunts. Texas can lead the way in rewriting our immigration laws so that we are safer and living up to our values.”
Since Gov. Abbott launched Operation Lone Star last March, state law enforcement officers have worked to prevent, detect and interdict transnational criminal activity stemming from the Texas-Mexico border. Multi-agency efforts have led to more than 292,700 apprehensions of foreign nationals who’ve entered Texas illegally, made more than 18,400 criminal arrests, and reported more than 15,700 felony charges.
The Texas Department of Public Safety has seized more than 326 million lethal doses of fentanyl, enough to kill nearly every adult and child in the U.S. These numbers exclude those of federal and other law enforcement agencies.
Texas also has bused more than 6,800 people to Washington, D.C., since April and more than 360 people to New York City since Friday.