Texas governor wants to deploy gunboats on Mexico border with emergency 'invasion' powers

Executive order would allow state to devote more than $4bn toward border security

Andrea Blanco
Friday 18 November 2022 00:25 GMT
Gov. Greg Abbott invokes ‘invasion clause’ of U.S., Texas constitutions

Texas Governor Greg Abbott says he intends to deploy gunboats to the Mexico border, invoking an “invasion” clause under the US and Texas constitutions in order to escalate border security efforts.

“Until Congress acts or the Biden Administration does its constitutionally required job, Texas Guardsmen and Troopers must bear the burden of securing the border,” Mr Abbot said in a statement. “You must continue to keep Texans and Americans safe and protect against an invasion of the southern border. “

He added: “I order you to use all resources and tools available to repel immigrants from attempting to cross illegally, arrest those who cross illegally and return them to the border, and arrest criminals who violate Texas law.”

Mr Abbott’s executive order would allow Texas to devote more than $4bn toward border security and enhanced public safety measures, including the deployment of thousands of Texas National Guard soldiers, Texas Department of Public Safety troopers and gunboats to the border with Mexico.

In a letter to President Joe Biden, Mr Abbott demanded that he reinstate immigration policies to manage the crisis at the border. He claimed that Migrant Protection Protocols must also be reinstated and that the construction of the border wall in the Lone Star state should continue.

“You must reinstate the policies that you eliminated, or craft and implement new policies, in order to fulfill your constitutional duty to enforce federal immigration laws and protect the States against invasion,” reads the letter. “Two years of inaction on your part now leave Texas with no choice but to escalate our efforts to secure our State.”

“Your open-border policies, which have catalyzed an unprecedented crisis of illegal immigration, are the sole cause of Texas having to invoke our constitutional authority to defend ourselves.”

The governor made clear his intent to designate Mexican drug cartels as foreign terrorist organizations, and to ensure that migrants awaiting proceedings remain in Mexico while the legal process unfolds in the US.

On Tuesday, Mr Abbott announced that a bus carrying 28 migrants would be sent to Philadephia from his state.

The migrants were families from Colombia, the Dominican Republic and Cuba. One of the passengers on the bus was a 10-year-old girl suffering from dehydration and a high fever, according to The Associated Press. She was taken to a hospital when she arrived in Philadelphia.

Immigration advocates and city leaders are providing temporary housing and other services for the migrants.

“In general, people feel relieved. We want them to know that they have a home here,” Philadelphia City Council member Helen Gym said.

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