Texas and the federal government are sending disturbing signals to one another. After the Supreme Court vacated an injunction against the Border Patrol, the Texas National Guard adjusted their mission slightly. It now includes replacing any concertina wire the Border Patrol has cut – and interdicting the Border Patrol directly. In response, several Democratic Members of Congress now urge the President to ”call up” the Texas National Guard. This would place the Guard under the direct orders of the President, through the Department of Defense. At the same time, several Republican governors have signaled that they stand with Texas. This escalation, if it does not stop, might lead to the firing of shots in anger between State and federal agents – or troops.
Background on the Texas border dispute
Recall that Texas is defying the spirit, if not quite the letter, of the latest United States Supreme Court ruling. The court issued a terse order vacating an injunction from the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. That injunction had said elements of the Border Patrol may not cut the concertina wire Texas has strung along the northern Rio Grand riverbank near Eagle Pass, without first asking permission. But the Court did not take any further action. Specifically, no Court has enjoined the Texas National Guard from stringing concertina wire, either new or to repair a breach. So the Guard has been restringing wire wherever the Border Patrol has cut it.
But Gov. Greg Abbott (R-Texas) stands accused of escalating the matter further. His detractors accuse him of interdicting any further Border Patrol operations in Eagle Pass, site of the heaviest migrant inflows.
In a post on X in September of last year he made his position clear:
The link is to a letter the Governor sent to President Biden more than fourteen months ago.
So the President can’t say the Governor didn’t warn him. The letter refers to Article I Section 10 Clause 3 of the Constitution, which reads:
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 escalates his defiance
Yesterday, in deploying the Texas National Guard to the border, Gov. Abbott made these posts:
That last post embeds a statement outlining what the President has done, to bring Texas to this pass. Gov. Abbott invoked a number of authorities, including:
- Article I Section 10 Clause 3 (already listed above),
- Article IV Section 4, which reads in relevant part: “The United States shall … protect each of [the several States] against Invasion”, and
- Arizona v. United States, 567 U.S. 387, 419 (2012).
That last authority includes a portion of the dissent by the late Justice Antonin Scalia, who:
- Explicitly cited Article I Section 10 Clauses 2 and 3 as an example of remaining State sovereignty,
- Exploded “the myth of an era of unrestricted immigration,” saying that has never been the case, and
- Pointed to a history of State laws restricting international and intra-national immigration and providing penalties for violations.
For further details, look up United States Court Reports, Volume 567.
While the federal government has accused Texas of interfering with its operations, thus far it has sought injunctive relief in one area only. Specifically, it has sought an injunction against the stringing of buoys, with serrated disks interspersed among them, in the river. But thus far no court has enjoined Texas from refusing access to federal agents in Eagle Pass.
Two Texas (!) Congress Members call for federal preemption
But now two Texas Democratic Members of Congress are asking in effect what the federal government is waiting for. Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-San Antonio) called on Biden to federalize the TNG.
Rep. Greg Casar (D-Austin/San Antonio) chimed in:
Then he dropped this angry thread:
Notice that Rep. Casar is not only calling for commandeering the Guard. He is also specifically calling for unrestricted immigration. If he wanted to fuel conspiracy theories of a “Great Replacement” of Anglos with Latinos, he could not have made a more inflammatory statement calculated to that purpose.
Unfortunately, as Newsweek makes clear, others are joining this chorus.
The controversy has even spilled over into the pages of The Army Times. Their article reiterates what the TNG is now doing: restringing concertina wire, and interdicting Border Patrol access. They also refer (but do not link) to a post by Rep. Chip Roy (R-Austin) urging the Governor to defy the Court.
Christina Laila at The Gateway Pundit carried her own report yesterday afternoon, and included this additional post from Ken Paxton:
Victor Nieves, also of TGP, released this brief video commentary:
Last night, Sarah Arnold at Town Hall reported that the Freedom Convoy organization has called on truckers to meet in Eagle Pass. On Monday, January 29, they plan a run from Eagle Pass to Yuma, Arizona, then on to San Ysidro, California.
The Speaker and the governors
Later, Rep. Mike Johnson (R-La.), Speaker of the House, offered his support. Jim Hoft captured his post, and that of reporter Chuck Callesto.
Then this morning, Jim Hoft, Editor-in-chief of TGP, reported that several Republican governors had announced their support for Texas. They include Govs. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.),
Kristi Noem (R-S.D.),
Glenn Youngkin (R-Va.),
Kevin Stitt (R-Okla.),
Greg Gianforte (R-Mont.),
and, oddly enough, Brian Kemp (R-Ga.).
Hoft also quoted a portion of Gov. Abbott’s running summary of Operation Lone Star activities in 2023:
In August, Governor Abbott held a press conference in Eagle Pass with Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, Nebraska Governor Jim Pillen, Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt, and South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem to provide an update on their joint efforts under Texas’ Operation Lone Star to respond to President Biden’s reckless open border policies. The border visit came after Governor Abbott sent letters to America’s Governors in May requesting support for Texas’ border security mission following President Biden’s decision to end Title 42.
In total, 14 states—Arkansas, Florida, Iowa, Idaho, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wyoming—have stepped up to support Texas’ efforts and deployed personnel and resources to secure the border in President Biden’s absence.
Incredibly, Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) accused Trump of not wanting to solve the border problem. He said Trump would rather blame the President. Manu Raju, CNN’s chief Capitol Hill correspondent, left this thread:
The last post links to this article giving details. The Senate action in question appears to be the same “fake border bill” that Speaker Johnson has already denounced.
They want you to believe that the deal they’re offering to the American people is a “compromise.”
[Sen. Chuck] Schumer wants you to sign off on:
150,000 illegal immigrants entering the country uninhibited per month. (That’s nearly the population of my hometown in Louisiana)
Work permits for EVERY illegal alien who’s been released into the country.
And they want YOU to pay for their legal fees.
My answer is NO. Absolutely not.
Former Rep. (and Speaker) Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) gave further details, and signaled his agreement with Johnson. But Sharika Soal (TGP) reports that Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has taken up Mitt’s refrain.
The Texas Nationalist Movement has not been silent, either.
This is actually the most powerful statement they made:
Not many realize that Texas has a State Guard, not subject to federalization.
In addition to the commentaries above, two more commentators have weighed in on video. Dr. Steve Turley has issued two videos in as many days on this issue. One describes the reactivated Freedom Convoy,
and the other the informal interstate compact now forming to defend the Northern Rio Grande Valley against any further incursions.
He counts 25 States whose governors have pledged support to Gov. Abbott. In addition, “Jeremy at The Quartering” weighed in, something he doesn’t normally do. He explicitly warned the President to refrain from federalizing the Texas National Guard – or see the situation become “scary.”
Jeremy is correct – except the situation is already “scary.” Two U.S. Congress members, each representing a slice of the “woke” part of the southwest corner of the Texas Triangle, have actually called on the President of the United States to call forth the Texas National Guard – for the purpose of using it against the State of Texas and to aid and abet an invasion. At the same time, another Member, representing a non-woke part of that corner, has called on the Governor to give the President Jackson answer to the Supreme Court.
[The Chief Justice] has made his decision. Now let him enforce it. Andrew Jackson, paraphrase
Congress is split to the point of deadlock.
By what authority?
“Calling forth the Militia” will raise another Constitutional critical issue. Article I Section 8 Clause 15 reads:
The Congress shall have power … To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions.
If President Biden federalizes the Guard over this issue, this would be equivalent to calling forth the Militia to aid and abet an invasion. In short, Gov. Abbott would order his Adjutant General to disregard such a call-up. And if any of those twenty-five other States deploy their National Guards along the Rio Grande, then Gov. Abbott will have troops sufficient to turn an ugly situation even uglier – and fast. To say nothing of illegal immigration already being a galvanic campaign issue, in both primary and general elections.
In short, the governors have given Biden a chance to pull back from the brink. If he doesn’t, then perhaps this statement, which arguably translates itself, would be appropriate:
Felicitationes, el jefe estupendo. Ahora tienes una guerra.
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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