By BETHANY BLANKLEY
THE CENTER SQUARE CONTRIBUTOR
(The Center Square) — Two more Texas counties have declared an invasion at the southern border.
Parker and Atascosa became the seventh and eighth Texas counties on Monday to declare an invasion two weeks after six counties and one city declared an invasion on July 5.
Parker County Commissioner’s Court unanimously voted to invoke Article 1, Section 10 and declare Texas and the United States under invasion.
Atascosa County Commissioners Court also expressed their support for declaring an invasion, and Judge Russell Wilson signed a disaster declaration affirming an invasion at the southern border. The court must next vote to approve his declaration, which it is likely to do.
They joined Kinney, Goliad, Terrell, Edwards, Presidio and the city of Uvalde, which already declared an invasion.
“Parker County agrees that Texas is in the midst of an actual invasion, per Art. 1 Section 10 of the U.S. Constitution,” Wise County Conservatives said in a statement calling on the commissioner’s court to pass the resolution, which it did.
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. The city’s mayor declared an invasion separately.
“The governor under the constitution has the right to declare an invasion,” Atascosa County Commissioner Stuart Knowlton said. “He’s publicly stated on Fox News that he agrees there’s an invasion, but he’s yet to sign a declaration, which would hand him the power to close the border. This is an effort to support those counties.
“We’ve had some issues here, we’ve had high-speed chases and property damage,” Commissioner Knowlton said, referring to roughly 75 incidents of foreign nationals in the country illegally committing crimes in the county.
Judge Wilson read the disaster declaration he signed, which states in part that the county is facing an “imminent threat of disaster for the unprecedented levels of illegal immigration and human trafficking and drug smuggling across the U.S. border from Mexico” and “the ongoing crisis constitutes an invasion of Texas and extraordinary measures must be taken to ensure the protection, health and safety of county residents.”
In response, Kinney County Attorney Brent Smith told The Center Square, “The significance of other counties across Texas also declaring an invasion cannot be overstated. It clearly establishes that the border crisis impacts every county in the state and is not limited to those communities near the Rio Grande.
“The safety and security of every Texan is threatened by the federal government’s abandonment of its constitutional duty. I encourage every county in the state to acknowledge the crisis is an invasion. If Texans don’t save Texas, no one will.”
Two days after Kinney County and others declared an invasion, Gov. Abbott issued an executive order authorizing and empowering the Texas National Guard and the Texas Department of Public Safety to apprehend foreign nationals who illegally cross the Mexican border into Texas and return them to the border. While he cited constitutional provisions in his declaration, he stopped short of declaring an invasion.
“While President Biden refuses to do his job and enforce the immigration laws enacted by Congress, the State of Texas is once again stepping up and taking unprecedented action to protect Americans and secure our southern border,” the governor said.
His order states that the Biden administration “has abandoned the covenant, in Article IV, § 4 of the U.S. Constitution, that ‘(t)he United States . . . shall protect each (State in this Union) against Invasion,’ and thus has forced the state of Texas to build a border wall, deploy state military forces, and enter into agreements as described in Article I, § 10 of the U.S. Constitution to secure the State of Texas and repel the illegal immigration that funds the cartels.”
In the order, he authorized the Texas National Guard and Texas Department of Public Safety to begin returning foreign nationals who entered Texas illegally to the border “to stop this criminal enterprise endangering our communities.”
He also cited Article IV, § 7 of the Texas Constitution and Sections 431.111 and 437.002 of the Texas Government Code authorizing him to direct state military to enforce the law.
But Center for Renewing America President Russ Vought and Senior Fellow Ken Cuccinelli said the order means “no significant changes to current policy. This is still catch and release.”
They said in a joint statement, “We acknowledge Gov. Abbott’s recognition that the facts on the ground along the border comport with the Constitution’s understanding of an invasion. However, the governor does not appear to formally declare an invasion nor direct the National Guard and Department of Public Safety to remove illegals across the border directly to Mexico. That is critical. Otherwise, this is still catch and release.”