Texas could declare a border ‘invasion’ and return migrants to Mexico

Asylum-seekers gather at the Plaza Las Americas migrant tent camp in Reynosa, Mexico in Dec. 2021. (Gina Ferazzi/Los Angeles Times)

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is facing mounting pressure from far-right and former Trump administration officials to immediately declare a migrant “invasion” at the U.S.-Mexico border, under a constitutional provision that would allow local law enforcement and National Guard troops to stop migrants at the border and send them back to Mexico.

The federal government is responsible for the enforcement of immigration laws. But a pandemic rule that has blocked more than 1.7 million migrants attempting to enter the U.S. — Title 42 — is scheduled to be lifted on May 23 by the Biden administration.

Abbott and other officials have said that could cause a spike in migration, with up to 18,000 migrants arriving at the border daily. Already the number of migrants at the southern border increased 33% last month from February to 221,303, according to figures released Monday by U.S. Customs and Border Protection. That’s 28% more migrants arriving than March 2021. Several thousand migrants are waiting to claim asylum in camps just across the border from Texas’ Rio Grande Valley.

Former Trump officials at the Center for Renewing America, a conservative think tank based in Washington, are pushing Republican governors in border states to act soon to prevent those migrants from entering the U.S. and to deter others from making the journey. Officials have reached out to Arizona and Texas leaders, arguing that under the Constitution’s “invasion clause” and “states self-defense clause,” states are entitled to define what they consider an invasion and defend themselves by expelling migrants.

Arizona Atty. Gen. Mark Brnovich, a Republican running for U.S. Senate, released a legal opinion supporting the plan this year, arguing, “The violence and lawlessness at the border caused by transnational cartels and gangs satisfy the definition of an ‘invasion’ under the U.S. Constitution, and Arizona, therefore, has the power to defend itself.” Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey has demurred, stressing steps he’s already taken to secure the border. On Tuesday, he announced a “border strike force” agreement with 25 fellow Republican governors, including Abbott, to combat cartels and other border crime. Texas leaders also have yet to respond publicly to the plan, but local officials say they’re considering it.

Source: El País

Mexico Daily Post