US judge declares ‘invasion’ at Mexican border
Kinney County in Texas has declared a local state of disaster, officially classifying the flood of migrants streaming from across the Mexican border as an “invasion” and requesting assistance from state and federal authorities. Kinney County Judge Tully Shahan legally declared the invasion on Tuesday and five nearby counties have already enacted similar decrees or plan to do so.
Shahan’s declaration noted that 3.2 million illegal aliens had been caught sneaking into the US since January 2021, plus over 800,000 who avoided capture during that time. He also claimed more than 50 “known terrorists” had entered the US via the Mexican border since the start of 2022 and cited the “unprecedented amount of human trafficking” and drug smuggling as factors constituting an invasion.
Kinney County sheriff Brad Coe warned the county was being overrun by migrants, while three other sheriffs from neighboring counties agreed. “Our numbers are going to triple,” Coe told reporters on Tuesday, lamenting “we cannot sustain this kind of invasion” and pointing to a lack of budgetary resources.
Declaring an invasion without any military initiative to back it up may seem symbolic, especially since the state of disaster lasts no longer than seven days unless renewed, but it is a historic first, according to former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli. He told local media this was the first time that a judge had found as a matter of law that the US was being invaded, urging Texas Governor Greg Abbott to accept the declaration and deploy Department of Public Safety officers to turn people away at the border.
While acknowledging individual US states cannot wage war, Cuccinelli pointed out that “there is an exception…when you were actually invaded. That’s been there since the beginning of the constitution. The states reserved those rights to themselves.”
Indeed, the declaration of disaster calls on Governor Abbott to act under his constitutional authority as “Commander-in-Chief of the military forces of the State” in declaring the invasion, granting him the use of “all lawfully available resources and authority” due him under the state and federal constitutions in order to “immediately prevent and/or remove all persons invading the sovereignty of Texas and that of the United States.”
Burnet, DeMitt, Goliad, Medina, Terrell and Uvalde counties have made similar declarations, and Judge Kinney has argued every border county should do the same.
Illegal immigration has risen steeply in the past year, with more than three times as many illegal migrants reported in 2021 as in 2020. This year alone has seen 1.5 million arrests and is likely to exceed last year’s total of 1.7 million. Abbott and many other local officials blame President Joe Biden’s lax border enforcement policies.
The United Nations declared earlier this week that the US-Mexico border was the deadliest in the world, with over 720 migrants dying or vanishing in the process of trying to cross last year, an increase of more than 50%. Deaths and disappearances in the region were even higher, with over 1,200 border crossers dead or missing in the general area.