In a bold declaration, Texas Governor Greg Abbott has exercised his state's "right to self-defense," leveraging what he terms "the supreme law of the land" to empower state soldiers in a stance against President Joe Biden's immigration policies along the U.S.-Mexico border.
This move comes amidst a heated legal confrontation between Abbott's administration and the Justice Department. The crux of the dispute centers on various strategies employed by Abbott to curtail the influx of migrants entering the U.S.
illegally via the southern border. Among these strategies are a floating barrier across the Rio Grande and the installation of razor-wire fencing. Significantly, in the 2023 fiscal year, which concluded in September, the U.S.
Border Patrol (USBP) recorded approximately 3.2 million encounters, as per agency data. These encounters encompass USBP Title 8 Apprehensions, Office of Field Operations (OFO) Title 8 Inadmissibles, and Title 42 Expulsions.
Abbott Challenges Biden
On Wednesday, Abbott issued a critical statement accusing President Biden of breaching "his oath to faithfully execute immigration laws enacted by Congress." He referenced the Constitution, citing the administration's failure to "protect each [State] against invasion" as per Article IV, Section 4.
This, according to Abbott, activates Article I, § 10, Clause 3, which he interprets as granting Texas the "right of self-defense." Abbott asserted, "For these reasons, I have already declared an invasion under Article I, § 10, Clause 3 to invoke Texas's constitutional authority to defend and protect itself.
That authority is the supreme law of the land and supersedes any federal statutes to the contrary." He further stated that entities like the Texas National Guard and the Texas Department of Public Safety are enforcing this authority to secure the state's border.
Amidst these legal battles, there's a growing movement, popularly dubbed as 'Texit,' advocating for Texas's independence from the United States. The Texas Nationalist Movement (TNM) recently presented the Texas Republican Party with a petition, allegedly signed by over 139,000 individuals, urging an advisory referendum on Texas's independence in the March 2024 primary ballot.
However, the Texas GOP dismissed the petition for being submitted late and having a majority of "invalid" signatures, according to Chair Matt Rinaldi. President Biden, facing criticism not just from Abbott but also from various Republican lawmakers, acknowledges the challenges in reforming America's immigration system.
Recently, he expressed his readiness to implement "massive changes" in border policy, aligning with a bipartisan Senate effort to forge a comprehensive deal.