Kinney declared its state of emergency on Wednesday and Atascosa adopted a declaration with almost identical language on Thursday.
“We felt like we had to do something and we want to protect our citizens here in Kinney County,” County Judge Tully Shahan said, according to local media.
In Kinney County’s official declaration, which mentions fears of increased COVID-19 transmission due to illegal immigration, the commissioners court said “the health, life, and property of the residents of Kinney County is under an imminent threat of disaster from the human trafficking occurring on our border with Mexico.”
“The ongoing border crisis has resulted in thousands of illegal aliens invading Kinney County and overwhelming our local, state, and federal law enforcement,” the document states.
“This continual violation of our sovereignty and territorial integrity has resulted in residents of Kinney County being assaulted, threatened with violence, and robbed, while also sustaining vast amounts of property damage[.]”
On social media, Atascosa County officials said county Judge Robert Hurley approved the declaration as a symbolic measure.
“[Hurley] is wanting to assure the citizens of Atascosa County that there is no known problems at this time in our County,” the county said in a Facebook post.
“He was asked to issue this Declaration in concert with Kinney County because of the issues they, along with many other counties, are having due to the influx of human trafficking. A key purpose of the declaration was to make a show of solidarity with the counties down south.”
The county added, “This declaration is the only voice the counties have to make themselves heard.”
The declarations are reminiscent of Del Rio Mayor Bruno Lozano’s public appeal to President Biden to improve the federal government’s response to illegal immigration in the Del Rio area due to a short supply of resources and concerns about criminal activity.
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Hayden Sparks is a reporter for The Texan and a lifelong resident of the Lone Star State. He has coached competitive speech and debate and has been involved in politics since a young age. One of Hayden's favorite quotes is by Sam Houston: "Texas has yet to learn submission to any oppression, come from what source it may."