FederalImmigration & BorderStatewide NewsTexas Border County Officials Declare Invasion, Call on Abbott to Follow Suit

Overwhelmed by crime pouring over the southern border, local officials met in Brackettville to call on Gov. Greg Abbott to declare a statewide invasion.
July 6, 2022
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A press conference that included officials from several border counties as well as one U.S. congressman announced the passage of “historic” emergency orders declaring that their jurisdictions are under “invasion” and called on Gov. Greg Abbott to declare the same.

The event on Tuesday in Brackettville was held by the local officials, who say criminal activity coming from the southern border has overwhelmed their resources and placed their communities in danger — and that “open border” policies by the Biden administration are largely to blame for the unprecedented surges in criminal activity.

“I want to thank all these sheriffs, all the judges, and local politicians for having the courage to host this, because what they are doing here is what the attorney general of Arizona did, and what the attorney general of Texas needs to do and that is recognize an invasion,” Congressman Chip Roy (R-TX) stated, adding that the border situation has undermined the health and well-being of Texas communities as well as state security.

“It is an invasion of the State of Texas that is undermining our security … allowing fentanyl to pour into our schools and communities for Texans to die, allowing ranchers to get run over, empowering cartels who are well armed along the border with their tentacles reaching into Texas. You’re damn right that is an invasion — what else do you call it?” 

Numerous local officials strongly expressed their shared views that their communities were under an invasion, and while most praised Abbott for the assistance the state has brought local jurisdictions, every official stated that the increasing severity of the crisis means they need more support from the state. 

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Goliad County Judge Mike Bennet said they get a lot of stolen vehicles, damaged private property, and other crimes stemming from the border situation, and that their county had very little resources to address the increased crime consuming their local law enforcement.

“We have a sheriff’s office with two deputies on duty at any given time, and three to four times per week we have bailouts in our county, and it takes 150 percent of our sheriff’s office resources, leaving the rest of our county totally unprotected,” Bennett said, adding, “We could barely make budget before all of this occurred, and now we are running way behind.”

“We are here today to ask the governor to do more. Clearly, it’s the responsibility of the United States government to do this, and clearly, they are not going to do a thing.”

Mayor Eric Martinez of Brackettville shared an alarming story regarding their local schools, describing how people coming across the border will walk onto school campuses in the early morning trying to blend in with the school crowds.

“We definitely need the help,” Mayor Martinez said. “We cannot just sit on our hands anymore.”

“We have chases daily, we have chases at night,” Kinney County Judge Tully Shahan stated, describing how a human trafficker drove recklessly at high speeds through town with a carload of trafficking victims and shot at oncoming traffic with a .22 pistol.

“We wanted to get together and tell you what the plight of the people is in Kinney County,” Shahan said, adding that help will have to come from Governor Abbott, as they do not anticipate any help from the Biden administration.

“If you will look at our declaration, the facts are there regarding why we are being invaded,” the judge explained.

“We are under siege,” Kinney County Sheriff Brad Coe said. “The border patrol is being held back and not allowed to do their job.”

The sheriff shared with the audience how recently, when he encountered a group of illegal aliens and federal authorities were unable to take custody of them, the sheriff drove them to the port of entry and dropped them off on the U.S. side so the aliens could go back on their own.

Sheriff Roy Boyd of Goliad County slammed descriptions of the crisis as “immigration” and defended the invasion declarations with detailed accounts of the criminal activity his office is encountering. 

“When you hear the term invasion, that’s exactly what this is. When you hear the term immigration, I am going to tell you this isn’t immigration, this is slave trade. These individuals we are intercepting, they are not free to go, they are the property of the cartels,” Boyd explained.

He then described how the cartels move human trafficking victims around the country, forcing them to work to pay off their debts to the cartel with jobs like selling drugs, forced prostitution, and other coerced labor.

“It is an invasion that is being pushed by the cartels into our country, and it must come to a stop. This may be hard for some people to swallow because you think slavery ended a long time ago, but it did not. It is taking place in modern America right now and we are seeing it firsthand in law enforcement.”

Boyd also says Abbott threw them a lifeline with funds and support through Operation Lone Star, adding they greatly appreciate his support so far but the tides are still rising and they still need more help.

Kinney County Attorney Brent Smith spoke, describing the emergency declaration he drafted that Kinney and other counties plan to adopt, claiming Articles I and IV of the U.S. Constitution allow the states to act by declaring an invasion if the federal government doesn’t do its job to protect the states.

Former Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, who now works with the Center for Renewing America, stated that the declaration by the Texas county judges is a historic occasion, as it is the first time a judge has declared that the United States has been invaded. But, he shared, the only person with the power to act action by declaring an invasion is Abbott.

The Kinney County emergency declaration signed by Shahan outlines several statistics, including how 800,000 aliens have avoided apprehension since 2021, 50 terrorists are known to have also crossed the border, and described the harm done by vast amounts of drugs and human trafficking that is occurring.

“That as a matter of law, the facts constitute – among other things – an invasion of Kinney County, Texas, as the term ‘invasion’ is used in Article IV, Section 4 of the U.S. Constitution and Article 4, Section 7, of the Texas Constitution,” the declaration states.

“That this declaration hereby requests the Governor of Texas to act under the constitutional authority granted unto him under Article 4, Section 7, of the Texas Constitution, and Article 1, Section 10, Clause 3, of the U.S. Constitution and immediately prevent and/or remove all persons invading the sovereignty of Texas and that of the United States.” 

The local border officials now wait to see what actions Governor Abbott will take, if any, in response to the emergency invasion declarations. More counties are expected to take up and pass similar declarations in the coming days.

According to a spokesperson for Abbott’s office,  “All strategies remain on the table as Texas continues to stepping up in the federal government’s absence.”

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Matt Stringer

Matt Stringer is a reporter for The Texan who writes about all things government, politics, and public policy in West Texas. He graduated summa cum laude from Odessa College with an Associate Degree in Paralegal Studies and is presently finishing a Bachelor’s Degree in Management and Leadership. In his free time, you will find him in the great outdoors, usually in the Davis Mountains and Big Bend region of Southwest Texas.