Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed an executive order allowing Texas law enforcement officials to return illegal immigrants arrested in Texas back to the U.S. border. This is similar to how counties have asked him to declare the migrant crisis an invasion.
The Texas Department of Public Safety and Texas National Guard (DPS) has been authorized by Abbott to arrest and return illegal immigrants who crossed between ports of entry to Texas to the southern border. The order will allow illegal aliens to be brought into the United States, but not into Mexico.
This comes at a historic time for migrant encounters at the border. Abbott stated that Texas had 5,000 migrant arrests over Independence Day weekend.
Abbott stated that while President Biden refuses his duty to enforce the immigration laws enacted in Congress, the State of Texas has once again stepped up to take unprecedented action to protect Americans at our southern border. “The open border policies of President Biden have enabled the cartels to smuggle in record numbers, weapons and deadly drugs such as fentanyl, and they have been empowered and enriched.”
Abbott stated that he had authorized the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Texas National Guard to return illegal immigrants to the border in an effort to end the criminal enterprise that is threatening our communities. “As the border challenges continue to grow, Texas will continue to act to address the Biden Administration’s shortcomings.”
Abbott took a variety of drastic measures to deal with the flood of migrants that hit the state, including busing them to Washington, D.C., last year. The state also increased resources and law enforcement at the border under Operation Lone Star, in an effort to detain those illegally entering the country.
The state has been suing Biden administration policies. Most recently, it argued before the Supreme Court in an attempt to stop the disintegration of Trump-era Remain-in-Mexico. The high court ruled that the administration could end the program. Texas has won a lawsuit against the Biden administration to stop its narrowing of Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) priorities.
According to state records, the administration is currently investigating Operation Lone Star in relation to possible civil rights violations. On May 16, the Federal Coordination and Compliance Section of DOJ’s Civil Rights Division wrote to the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS), stating that they were made aware of possible illegal activity in relation to the border security mission.
Abbott’s order follows multiple Texas counties declaring the crisis an invasion this week and urging Abbott to follow suit. They argued that it would give Mexico greater power, including the ability to return illegal immigrants from Mexico.
Numerous House legislators have called for this move.
Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas), who appeared with the county officials Tuesday said that Texas must fill the gap left by the Biden administration.
He said, “We are dealing with an invasion.” “We have Texans dying because of fentanyl flooding into our communities. Our ranchers are becoming overwhelmed, their livestock is getting out, and their fences are being cut. It is affecting our communities. All of the leaders in south Texas want Texas to step up and do what the federal government won’t do.”
Abbott has not yet issued such a declaration. However, his executive order did mention “invasion” and stated that the Biden administration had “abandoned the Covenant, Article IV, SS 4, of the U.S Constitution that the United States shall protect every [State] in this Union against Invasion
The Center for Renewing America, a group that has been pushing state governors to declare an invasion, dismissed Abbott’s most recent executive order.
Russ Vought and Ken Cuccinelli both worked in the Trump administration. They released a statement acknowledging Governor Abbott’s recognition of the fact that the facts on the ground as well as the border conform with the Constitution’s understandings of an invasion.
“However, the Governor does not appear to formally declare an invasion nor direct the National Guard and [DPS] to remove illegals across the border directly to Mexico,” they say. “That is critical. Otherwise, this is still caught and released.”