Since July 2022, 42 commissioners and judges have issued declarations of invasions or signed resolutions calling for such declarations across Texas. Those officials represent the counties of Atascosa, Burnet, Chambers, Clay, Collin, Ector, Edwards, Ellis, Fannin, Franklin, Goliad, Hamilton, Hardin, Harrison, Hood, Hunt, Jack, Jasper, Johnson, Kinney, Lavaca, Leon, Liberty, Live Oak, Madison, McMullen, Montague, Navarro, Orange, Parker, Presidio, Shackelford, Somervell, Terrell, Throckmorton, Tyler, Van Zandt, Waller, Wharton, Wichita, Wilson, and Wise, according to a Center Square analysis of news reports and public statements released Wednesday.
One of those counties, Clay, adopted a resolution calling for more measures to deal with an invasion at the border, Judge Mike Campbell told local media earlier this month.
“I think about all the things that we could use use that money for instead of what they’re using it for right now,” Campbell said. “But the governor needs to understand that we back him on that, and we get it. We understand that it’s a problem. And that while we wish the federal government would take care of it, they’re not doing it right now.”
And Collin County, located in northern Texas, similarly approved resolution to “recognize an invasion against the state of Texas.” Both Collin and Clay counties, for example, have said that crime, human trafficking, and drug smuggling are the main reasons why.
“We just want the governor to know that we’re behind him and whatever he needs to do in the absence of actual real action from the federal government,” Darrell Hale, a commissioner in Collin County, told Spectrum News.
In another example, Franklin County Judge Scott Lee signed a resolution last October that seeks “additional border security measures to stop the invasion at our southern border to protect Texas communities,” while citing the invasion clauses of the U.S. and Texas constitutions. Specifically, Lee called on “the Texas governor to make a formal declaration of invasion thereby invoking the state authority under the invasion clause of the U.S. Constitution, Article 1, Section 10, Clause 3.”
Even though Abbott cited the invasion clauses in a November letter and in a letter critical of President Joe Biden, he hasn’t yet declared a formal invasion.
“I invoked the Invasion Clauses of the U.S. [and the] Texas Constitutions” to make the statement, Abbott said on social media. “I’m using that constitutional authority [and] other authorization [and] Executive Orders to keep our state [and] country safe.”
But “until a declaration of invasion is issued, the State of Texas does not possess the legal authority to remove illegal aliens from the United States,” Goliad County Judge Mike Bennet and Goliad County Sheriff Roy Boyd in a joint statement said in a statement last year. “The only two ways to solve the problem are to enact a declaration of invasion or put enough economic pressure on Mexico and make them bring this mass movement to an end in their country,” they added.
Earlier this month, Biden visited El Paso, a border city where numerous illegal immigrants have crossed into the United States in recent years, following months of pressure and criticism from Republican and some members of his own party. About a month ago, Abbott ordered the Texas National Guard to block the flow of illegal aliens by setting up fencing near El Paso.
“The service members are erecting concertina barrier as needed to funnel migrants to the designated points of entry,” the Texas National Guard said in a statement in December. “The primary goal of the Texas Army National Guard is to prevent illegal crossings into Texas.”
According to a statement issued by the White House ahead of Biden’s visit this month, the Biden administration said it will provide “additional resources to the border” and would increase its anti-smuggling operations. It came after the Supreme Court allowed a Trump-era immigration rule, Title 42, to remain for the time being while arguments are being heard.