Abbott doubles down on border ‘invasion’ declaration after Supreme Court blow

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) on Wednesday accused the federal government of breaking the compact with the states following a Supreme Court ruling on Monday that cleared the way for the Border Patrol to remove razor wire installed by Texas along the U.S.-Mexico border.

In a statement, Abbott said, “President Biden has refused to enforce [immigration] laws and has even violated them.”

It’s the latest escalation in a legal and political standoff between Texas and the federal government, though Abbott stopped short of announcing any specific measures.

He has been pushing constitutional boundaries on state versus federal jurisdiction of border and immigration enforcement for the better part of two years; his legal team, including state Attorney General Ken Paxton, first publicly toyed with the idea of formally declaring a border “invasion” in April 2022.

In that November, Abbott wrote Biden invoking a state’s constitutional right to wage war when invaded, but he only made his official invasion declaration public in September.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott speaks after signing one of several Public Safety bills at the Texas Capitol in Austin, Texas, Tuesday, June 6, 2023. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Since then, the governor has methodically increased the border enforcement roles of the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Texas National Guard, citing the constitutional authority for a state to defend itself against invasion.

“That authority is the supreme law of the land and supersedes any federal statutes to the contrary. The Texas National Guard, the Texas Department of Public Safety, and other Texas personnel are acting on that authority, as well as state law, to secure the Texas border,” wrote Abbott.

Texas’s actions have precipitated several legal battles surrounding Operation Lone Star, Abbott’s initiative to take greater control over immigration enforcement.

Though the Supreme Court this week allowed federal officials — namely, the Border Patrol — to remove razor wire installed by Texas, that order did not affect other flashpoints in the uneasy relationship between feds and state agents.

Earlier this month, Texas officials took over a public park on the shores of the Rio Grande in Eagle Pass, using Texas National Guard troops to block the Border Patrol from accessing the park.

Texas Democratic Rep. Joaquin Castro was the first to call for a federalization of the Texas National Guard, which as a military unit is ultimately under the command of President Biden as commander-in-chief.

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Rep. Greg Casar (D-Texas) followed suit Wednesday in the wake of Abbott’s statement.

“I agree with Congressman Castro: if Abbott is defying yesterday’s Supreme Court ruling, President Biden needs to establish sole federal control of the Texas National Guard,” said Casar.

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