By Bethany Blankley
Three more counties are the latest to express support for Texas declaring an invasion at the southern border, bringing the total to 32.
The judge and county commissioners of Ector County, in the Permian Basin, signed a Declaration of Local State of Disaster on Sept. 27 stating the “health, safety, and welfare of Ector County residents are under an imminent threat of disaster from the unprecedented levels of illegal immigration, human trafficking, and drug smuggling coming across the U.S. border from Mexico.”
The declaration states that the “sophisticated human smuggling and drug trafficking organizations that facilitate these criminal acts are spearheaded by violent international drug cartels who have operational control over our unsecured U.S./Mexico border.” The crisis at the border “is not acceptable, and has resulted in a security threat and humanitarian disaster with overwhelming consequences to the residents of Ector County and Texans,” they argue.
Ector County Commissioner Mike Gardner told The Center Square that even in Odessa, Texas, residents are seeing “busloads of illegal aliens coming through every day.” The county’s law enforcement and judicial system “is already up against the wall and short-handed,” he said, with not enough staff to handle the crime stemming from the border. “We have enough issues in our county without the burden of this coming through. We need help from the state to fight the amount of drugs and people coming through.”
The declaration only lasts for seven days and will continue for a longer period if the commissioners renew it.
Lavaca County Judge Mark Myers signed a declaration of local disaster that remains in effect “until terminated by the County Judge.”
It states the “the health, safety, and welfare of Lavaca County residents is under an imminent threat of disaster from the unprecedented levels of illegal immigration, human trafficking, and drug smuggling coming across the U.S. border from Mexico.”
Judge Myers cites recent CBP data that shows that more than 5 million people have been apprehended or evaded apprehension at the southern border since January 2021, including dozens on the terrorist watch list. “The unprecedented amount of human trafficking, combined with the smuggling of fentanyl and other opioids infiltrating our border,” being “spearheaded by violent international drug cartels” has created “a security threat and humanitarian disaster with overwhelming consequences to the residents of Lavaca County and Texas,” necessitating him declaring a disaster, he said.
His declaration states these and other factors “constitute among other things an invasion of Lavaca County,” as the term used in Article 4, Section 4 of the U.S. Constitution and Article 4, Section 7 of the Texas Constitution.
Myers also requested the governor of Texas “declare the existence of an invasion on its border with Mexico and take necessary actions to preserve and protect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Texas.” Citing clauses of the U.S. Constitution and Texas Constitution, he called on the governor to “immediately prevent and/or remove all persons invading the sovereignty of Texas and that of the United States.”
Hamilton County Judge Mark Tynes signed a resolution “calling for additional measures to secure the border, stop the invasion at the border and protect our communities.” He also cited Article 4, Section 4 of the U.S. Constitution and Article 4, Section 7 of the Texas Constitution granting the governor authority to secure the Texas border from cartels who are acting as “paramilitary, narco-terrorist organizations that profit from trafficking people and drugs into the United States.”
The resolution also states that Hamilton County Commissioner’s Court “recognizes our southern border is under invasion,” and “recognizes and affirms the sovereignty and unilateral authority explicitly reserved to the states, respectively, under Article 1, Section 10 of the United States Constitution and Article IV, Section 7 of the Texas Constitution to defend themselves against invasion, which has been exacerbated by the Federal Government’s failure in meeting its constitutional obligation to ‘insure domestic tranquility,’ ‘provide for the common defense,’ ‘execute the laws,’ and ‘protect each state against invasion.’”
Hamilton County expressed support for Texas’ border security efforts through Operation Lone Star and “expanded operation authorities” and “requests Governor Abbott to take the necessary steps as allowed” under aforementioned U.S. and Texas constitutions.
So far, judges and commissioners who’ve signed resolutions in support of Texas declaring an invasion represent the counties of Atascosa, Burnet, Chambers, Clay, Ector, Edwards, Ellis, Goliad, Hamilton, Hardin, Hood, Hunt, Jack, Jasper, Johnson, Kinney, Lavaca, Liberty, Live Oak, Madison, Montague, Orange, Parker, Presidio, Terrell, Throckmorton, Tyler, Van Zandt, Wharton, Wichita, Wilson, and Wise.
While the judges of Jeff Davis and Rockwall counties expressed support for declaring an invasion, their county commissioners didn’t sign resolutions. Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin is the only mayor in Texas or the U.S. to declare an invasion.