Yesterday the Governor of Texas actually used a word fraught with meaning in the Texas and United States Constitutions: invasion. A State under invasion takes to itself the power to do certain things without the consent of the Congress. But having used that fighting word, Gov. Greg Abbott (R-Texas) will shortly have another decision to make. What happens when (not if) the Biden administration sues Texas again over the issues that made Abbott declare an invasion? Does Abbott then stop blocking Dan Miller’s call for Texas to secede from the Union?
Governor Abbott declares an invasion
The official declaration of invasion came on Twitter at 10:21 a.m. CST on Tuesday, November 15.
I invoked the Invasion Clauses of the U.S. and Texas Constitutions to fully authorize Texas to take unprecedented measures to defend our state against an invasion.
I’m using that constitutional authority, and other authorization and Executive Orders to keep our state and country safe:
After that, he embedded an image of text summarizing the measures he will now take.
By “invasion clauses” he means, first, Article I Section 10 Clause 3 of the U.S. Constitution:
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.
Gov. Abbott seems to be interpreting that clause as letting him do all the things that clause lists. The only thing he has not proposed to do, is to “lay a duty of tonnage.”
The Texas Constitution has two relevant “invasion clauses”:
- Article III Section 49, allowing the State to go into debt to repel an invasion, and
- Article IV Section 7, defining a power of the Governor to call forth the militia to repel invasions.
An invasion of what?
The text in the image tells us that Gov. Abbott is talking about an invasion of undocumented migrants. But he is also talking about the paramilitary forces that Mexican drug cartels routinely field. Two years ago one of these cartels boasted of their military strength:
Units like these have crossed the Rio Grande repeatedly. Gov. Abbott wants to stop these crossings, in addition to undocumented migrants pouring in through holes in the Trump Wall. Those holes exist because the pResident, upon taking office, ordered contractors building the Wall to down tools and go home.
So when another user questioned the governor’s use of the word invasion, a third user, quoting that boastful video, brought the mocker up short:
Then yet another user accused the governor of racism, and said Texans pay higher taxes than Californians. Whereupon a fifth user shared tax rates and property valuations that cut that argument short as well:
That aside, this tweet showing footage of migrants fording the Rio Grande demonstrates the problem.
What has Abbott done about the inflow thus far?
Gov. Abbott, along with the Governor of Missouri, first sued the federal government to keep Donald Trump’s Remain in Mexico policy in place. A district judge granted injunctive relief, and the Fifth Circuit affirmed that. But the Supreme Court reversed that judgment, saying a President can do what he wants on immigration. (Biden v. Texas, 21-954, slip opinion, decided June 30, 2022.)
So Abbott started putting migrants on buses and sending them to New York City, Washington, D.C., and Chicago, among other leftist dominated cities. The Mayor of New York sued Texas, accusing Abbott of “manufacturing a crisis” in his city. Abbott, undaunted and unimpressed, continued the program. But conservative commentators, like Bradlee Dean and Laura Loomer, thumped Abbott for, as they saw it, facilitating the Democrats’ own objective of importing and transplanting undocumented migrants throughout the country. Where, they feared, said migrants would eventually register to vote.
CNAV wondered then what Dean and Loomer expected Governors like Abbott and Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) to do. Should they transport the migrants back to Mexico using their own transport assets and manpower? Gov. Abbott would now appear to have decided to do precisely that. He speaks of “repelling and turning back” illegal crossers, building his own wall, even deploying gunboats on the Rio Grande. When someone takes such measures, he wants people to know he’s serious.
Interstate and foreign-power compacts
Almost as controversial as arrests and gunboats, is his plan to form a compact with other States, and negotiate “agreements with foreign powers.” The “foreign powers” presumably include Mexico and Latin American countries further south. The President of Mexico is likely to be bitter and resentful. Back in July he accused Abbott of “mistreating immigrants and Mexicans,” and called on Mexican immigrants to vote against him. That’s right: the leader of a foreign power called on his nationals, who shouldn’t be voting in our elections, to vote in them, against Abbott.
Abbott won reelection. Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador knows this, and might know that discretion is the better part of valor.
But what other States will form a compact with Texas? Florida is an obvious candidate, and so are Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana. Before Midterms, CNAV would have assumed that Arizona would qualify. But unless Kari Lake wins the lawsuits she pledges to file to overturn the results of the governor’s race there, Governor-elect Katie Hobbs (D-Ariz.) is likely never to sign any such compact. New Mexico was never going to sign in any case.
This raises the question of whether Texas will now build an interstate wall on its border with New Mexico. Roadblocks and checkpoints might not suffice.
Next question: Texit
Dan Miller’s Texas Nationalist Movement has, thus far, said nothing about Gov. Abbott’s declaration of invasion. But they’ve made no secret of their position on immigration generally. They speak of a “sustainable equilibrium,” suggesting that the immigration now happening is unsustainable and not at equilibrium.
The TNM lists a conciliatory position on U.S. military bases (like Joint Base San Antonio) within Texas. So obviously Texas secessionists are not looking for a Fort Sumter event. But secession fever has always strengthened on provocation of Texans by federal authorities. An adverse federal response to Gov. Abbott’s invasion declaration might constitute a provocation. Gunboats on the Rio Grande might cause Ambassador Susan Rice (if she is the power behind the Oval Office) to consider herself provoked.
Has Gov. Abbott thought all these matters through? He never impressed Dan Miller as having the welfare of Texas or Texans so at heart to declare an invasion. That’s why Miller endorsed Lt. Col. Allen West, U.S. Army (retired), for Governor in the Republican primary. Obviously West lost. Not so obvious is why Abbott felt the need for such a drastic change in policy. From shipping undocumented migrants to other American cities, to turning or sending them back to Mexico on his own, is as drastic as it gets.
That is, if he means what he says. Ken Cuccinelli and Russ Vought at the Center for Renewing America will believe it when they see it, according to The Washington Times.
Update: Governor disputes DHS on border security
Last night Governor Abbott made this terse and scathing reply to SecHomeSec Mayorkas, who insists yet again that the border is secure.
Terry A. Hurlbut has been a student of politics, philosophy, and science for more than 35 years. He is a graduate of Yale College and has served as a physician-level laboratory administrator in a 250-bed community hospital. He also is a serious student of the Bible, is conversant in its two primary original languages, and has followed the creation-science movement closely since 1993.
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