Some Texas lawmakers claim immigration amounts to an ‘invasion’

Constitutional questions of protection against invasion at issue
Published: Jul. 26, 2022 at 8:52 AM MDT
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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - Some Texas lawmakers are calling on Gov. Greg Abbott (R) to take deportation out of the federal government’s hands and authorize state officials to return migrants to Mexico.

This comes as the number of migrants crossing the border is setting records, although the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agency noted numbers were down slightly in June. Also that more, more than 50 migrants died from heat exposure in a smuggling incident.

Rep. Jodi Arrington (R-Texas) said the state should declare the situation at the border an invasion.

“While it’s not an armed attack, it is nonetheless an invasion,” Arrington said. “Nonetheless, disastrous. Nonetheless costing us in many ways.”

The term “invasion” is key because the U.S. Constitution guarantees the federal government will protect states from invasion and prohibits states from engaging in war without Congressional approval unless “actually invaded.”

Arrington argues Texas now has authority to deport migrants because the clause has been breached.

He says it was, “a promise, a covenant, to all of the states to provide a protection, and repel an invasion.”

In 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down an Arizona immigration law and declared the federal government had “broad” and “undoubted” immigration law authority over the states.

Texas immigration attorney Denise Gilman says Texas deporting migrants would clearly be unconstitutional based on precedent. But Gilman noted the Supreme Court is changing.

“We’re going to see some states and other parties trying to make arguments that were previously rejected in the hope that they might get a different result with a very different Supreme Court.”

So far Abbott has cited the so-called “guarantee” clause of the constitution in his state orders, but he has only arrested migrants as opposed to deporting them.

Immigration advocacy group American Gateways said state action is missing the point.

“What we need is comprehensive immigration reform that recognizes the humanity of those individuals who are coming across the border, and their reasons for leaving their home country,” Co-Executive Director Edna Yang said.

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) was not sure invoking the invasion clause would be possible, but he said the federal government has left the state with few options to address issues at the border.

Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) said he is concerned about the reputation of the area could lead to more migrants, as people are now flying from other countries in an attempt to enter the U.S. via the southern border.

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