In what he called an “unprecedented action” made necessary because “President Biden refuses to do his job,” Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has issued an executive order authorizing his state’s National Guard and the Texas Department of Public Safety to arrest immigrants who illegally cross the border between ports of entry and return them to Mexico.
“While President Biden refuses to do his job and enforce the immigration laws enacted by Congress, the State of Texas is once again stepping up and taking unprecedented action to protect Americans and secure our southern border,” Abbott said in a press release Thursday announcing the zero-tolerance policy.
Only the federal government is legally authorized to enforce immigration law. As legal justification, Abbott cites Article IV, § 4 of the US Constitution.
“‘[T]he United States… shall protect each [State in this Union] against Invasion, ‘and thus has forced the State of Texas to build a border wall, deploy state military forces, and enter into agreements as described in Article I, § 10 of the US Constitution to secure the State of Texas and repel the illegal immigration that funds the cartels. ”
Abbott’s office did not respond to a request for comment from The Post about whether he was bending to pressure by former Trump official Ken Cuccinelli to declare an “invasion” on the border. While Abbott did not issue an invasion declaration, he used the exact language Cuccinelli coached several Texas counties to use in declaring a border “invasion” Tuesday.
Cuccinelli wanted Abbott to declare an invasion and enact a Title 42-style program where immigrants were “repealed at the border” and automatically turned away.
This move comes as Abbott’s poll numbers are sinking in the aftermath of a school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, that left 19 children and two teachers dead, and his support for an abortion ban in Texas, according to a new poll of Texas voters. Abbott’s Democratic challenger, Beto O’Rourke, is gaining support and is now six points behind the governor.