“I think we all know the border is a mess,” Authier said. “We see different aspects of it other than our partners who are on the border seeing the human side of the smuggling, trafficking of people. A lot of what we’re seeing here is the drug smuggling.”
In its monthly operational update, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) reported 207,000 arrests by border guards and encounters at field offices nationwide in June. It was a 14 percent decrease from the all-time high of 240,000 encounters reported in May.
Fentanyl overdose deaths increased from just under 58,000 in 2020 to over 71,000 last year, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
By passing a proclamation declaring a state of disaster, commissioners pressured Governor Greg Abbott to take aggressive steps — ones the federal government may view as criminal — to control illegal immigration.
The commissioners court also invoked provisions of state law that allow the county to control “ingress and egress” from disaster areas. The document authorizes any county spending necessary to address the emergency.
The declaration stated that the amount of illegal immigration and drug trafficking “constitute — among other things — an invasion of Parker County, Texas, as the term ‘invasion’ is used in Article IV, Section 4 of the U.S. Constitution and in Article 4, Section 7 of the Texas Constitution.”
That section of the Texas Constitution confers to the governor the authority to protect the state from invasion.
“He shall be Commander-in-Chief of the military forces of the State, except when they are called into actual service of the United States. He shall have power to call forth the militia to execute the laws of the State, to suppress insurrections, and to repel invasions,” the state constitution reads.
In addition, the U.S. Constitution requires the federal government to protect states from invasion, a responsibility Abbott and others contend President Biden has neglected.
“The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened) against domestic Violence,” reads Article IV, Section 4.
Another provision of the federal Constitution mentioned in the Parker County proclamation is Article I, Section 10, Clause 3, which prohibits states from engaging in warfare or making agreements with foreign countries “unless actually invaded, or in such imminent Danger as will not admit of delay.”
On July 7, Abbott signed an executive order alleging that Biden “has refused to enforce the immigration laws enacted by Congress.”
The governor even claimed the president had “abandoned the covenant” to defend states from illegal immigration.
While CBP has encountered millions of illegal immigrants since the beginning of the Biden administration, the resolution pointed to the hundreds of thousands of individuals who avoided arrest, known as “got-aways.”
Abbott issued the order two days after Congressman Chip Roy (R-TX-21) and a host of officials from border jurisdictions assembled to call illegal immigration an invasion.
However, the governor did not direct state authorities to remove illegal immigrants from the country. He instead instructed guardsmen and state police to take illegal aliens to a port of entry.
The key difference between Abbott’s strategy and the one urged by Roy and many local officials is the contention that the state should begin deporting illegal immigrants without federal permission.
The proclamation Parker County commissioners passed this week extorts him to “immediately prevent and/or remove all persons invading the sovereignty of Texas and that of the United States.”
However, Abbott warned earlier this year that federal prosecutors could file charges against anyone who took U.S. immigration law into their own hands. The governor further argued it would be ineffective, especially if the U.S. Department of Homeland Security had given those individuals documents to remain in the country.
Parker County Judge Pat Deen did not respond to The Texan’s request for comment by the time of publication.
Declaring states of disaster over illegal immigration is a familiar strategy for border security proponents. Early in the Biden administration, Abbott made disaster declarations in dozens of counties due to the number of illegal crossings.
Last year, law enforcement officers from across Texas and even out-of-state went to the southern border to assist the state’s effort to enforce border security.
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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."