State Representative Matt Krause, a Republican from Fort Worth, made the headlines last month when he asked Attorney General Ken Paxton to issue an opinion on whether Texas could declare an “invasion” at its border and begin enforcing federal immigration policy.
Some will recall that “invasion” is the inflammatory term used by a vigilante in an anti-Hispanic manifesto he wrote before gunning down 23 shoppers at an El Paso Wal-Mart two years ago. The Shooter’s Diatribe feelings reflected expressed by then-President Donald Trump, who used the words “invasion”, “criminal” and “animals” to describe immigrants more than 500 times from 2017 to 2019.
Krause should be ashamed of himself for echoing this dangerous rhetoric. The same goes for Governor Greg Abbott, who is used the term “invasion” in reference to immigrants, drugs, and weapons crossing into Texas from Mexico.
Abbott is given Krause’s request but recognizes that there are legal obstacles. He is right. Legal experts say declaring an invasion would likely be struck down in court because they say the framers of the Constitution intended for states to protect themselves against possible invasion by a hostile power, not immigrants coming to America to seek a better life.
Amid unproductive GOP rhetoric about an “invasion,” paxton for follow-up the Biden administration late last month for its decision to end a Trump-era policy allowing mass federal deportations of asylum seekers.
The lawsuits aimed at those desperate to escape violence and persecution in their home countries, and the grandstanding of an ‘invasion’ of immigrants are the latest ploys Republican leaders in the state have developed to garner support from their right-wing base ahead of the November election. They come on the heels of Abbott’s widely ridiculed decisions last month to ferry migrants to Washington using taxpayer dollars (he’s now asking Texans to dig into their wallets again as he seeks private donations for trips) and perform secondary inspections of commercial trucks at the border.
These inspections blocked border traffic for days and costs the Texas economy $4 billion in gross domestic product loss. And what did the Texans, who never asked for this, get in return? Abbott’s political stunt resulted in no arrests, no seizures of illegal drugs and no weapons. Nothing.
All of this begs the question: If problems at the border are “a crisis” as Abbott insists, When will Republican leaders take immigration reform seriously? We saw a silver lining last week with the news that a bipartisan group of U.S. senators – including Texas Republican John Cornyn – are aimed at reviving congressional negotiations on immigration reform, which have been stalled for a long time. This is where this debate belongs because border enforcement is a federal responsibility, not a state one.
“I’ve been here for a while now, and we’ve never failed to fail on immigration,” Cornyn, a 20-year-old Senate veteran, told Roll Call, a Capitol Hill newspaper. “So I hope this time will be different.”
Instead of using the bullying pulpit for campaign theater that comes to nothing, Abbott should have called on Cornyn – the senior member of the Senate Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, and Border Security – a long time ago asking him to propose reforms regarding border security and Texas’ significant labor needs work.
Immigrants represent 23% of the Texas workforce and are essential to sustaining rapid economic growth. On 1.2 million of these workers hired by Texas employers are in the country illegally, according to the Center for American Progress. But Republican officials who like to talk about an “invasion” on the border conspicuously omit this point from their rhetoric.
Politicians like Krause exploit the lack of serious proposals for political reform to poison political discourse. Worse still, it seems that Krause and Abbott are inspired by out of state agitators, like Ken Cuccinelli, former Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security under President Donald Trump. Cuccinelli argued that states can enact the power to use force against immigrants at the border by invoking Article 1, Section 10, Clause 3 of the US Constitution.
Constitutional scholars disagree.
“The intent of the drafters of the entire document is clearly to give the power of national defense to the national government,” Jeffrey Abramson of the University of Texas School of Law told The Statesman. “They had in mind an invasion by an organized force, a foreign power, a foreign government.
“Border security is a very serious matter,” Abramson continued, “but, in my opinion, it’s silly, when you see a real invasion in Ukraine, to see what a real invasion by a foreign power looks like, from thinking that Texas is under a real invasion.
This Editorial Board has repeatedly recognized that border security and immigration enforcement are immense challenges that require informed debate and substantive policy proposals. We don’t get that from the party, which instead uses scaremongering tactics and rhetoric. Texans deserve better and they should remember that when they go to the polls in November.