Gov. Abbott authorizes Texas National Guard, Dept. of Public Safety to apprehend, return illegal migrants to southern border

President Joe Biden has all but formally declared an open-borders policy that has, quite predictably, resulted in a historic surge across the southern border of illegal migrants as well as the criminal smuggling of drugs, humans, terrorists, and weapons into the country.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) has attempted to counter that surge with state resources, and on Thursday he granted authority to the Texas National Guard and Department of Public Safety to apprehend illegal migrants and return them to the border, according to a press release from the governor’s office.

The governor asserted that he had the power to extend such authority to the state’s military and law enforcement contingents by virtue of specific clauses in both the Texas and U.S. Constitutions that have, in effect, been triggered by President Biden’s grossly apparent refusal to secure the southern border and enforce existing immigration laws.

National Guard, law enforcement, empowered to return illegal migrants to the border

“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,” Gov. Abbott said in the statement. “The cartels have become emboldened and enriched by President Biden’s open border policies, smuggling in record numbers of people, weapons, and deadly drugs like fentanyl.”

The press release served to announce an executive order that Abbott signed to extend authority to the Texas National Guard and Department of Public Safety to, in essence, fill the void left by the deliberate inaction of federal agencies under Biden and, to an extent short of deportation, enforce immigration laws by returning migrants who entered illegally to the nearest port of entry on the border.

“I have authorized the Texas National Guard and Texas Department of Public Safety to begin returning illegal immigrants to the border to stop this criminal enterprise endangering our communities,” Abbott added in the statement. “As the challenges on the border continue to increase, Texas will continue to take action to address those challenges caused by the Biden Administration.”

Abbott invokes constitutional authorities to counter the “invasion” of the southern border

That executive order from Gov. Abbott noted the criminal and dangerous outcomes of President Biden’s refusal to enforce the border or immigration laws and, though he stopped short of formally declaring an “invasion” of his state’s southern border with Mexico, he nonetheless cited specific provisions within the U.S. and Texas Constitutions that granted him additional authority to deal with an actual invasion of his sovereign state’s territory.

First, he accused Biden of having “abandoned the covenant” set by Article IV, Sec. 4 of the U.S. Constitution, which states in relevant part that “The United States … shall protect each [State of the Union] against invasion” or “domestic violence.”

Given that failure on Biden’s part, Abbott then turned to Article I, Sec. 10 of the U.S. Constitution, which prohibits individual states from keeping troops, entering into agreements with other states, or engaging in war, “unless actually invaded, or in such imminent Danger as will not admit of delay,” which in Abbott’s view justified his efforts to “build a border wall, deploy state military forces, and enter into agreements” with other states to “secure the State of Texas and repel the illegal immigration that funds the cartels.”

Finally, the governor also pointed to Article 4, Sec. 7 of the Texas Constitution, which names the governor as commander-in-chief of the state’s military forces and grants him the “power to call forth the militia to execute the laws of the State, to suppress insurrections, and to repel invasions.”

Several Texas counties formally declared an “invasion”

Interestingly enough, all of those constitutional authorities were highlighted earlier in the week when several Texas counties joined together to formally declare an “invasion” of the state’s southern border by criminal cartels and illegal migrants and urged Gov. Abbott to make a similar declaration and make use of his powers to address the situation.

As noted, Abbott didn’t go as far as the counties in formally declaring an “invasion,” but he has now cited the same relevant authorities and has stepped up his ongoing efforts to fill the vacuum left by Biden’s negligent inaction in securing the border against further incursions and authorizing state-level forces to apprehend and return suspected illegal migrants to that same border they illegally crossed.

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