(NewsNation) — Texas Gov. Greg Abbott sent a letter to President Joe Biden urging the president to enforce immigration laws, including aggressively prosecuting illegal entry and reentry and fully reinstating the migrant protection protocols at the U.S.-Mexico border.
In Wednesday’s letter, Abbott claims a record-breaking level of illegal immigration at the border was caused by the Biden administration. He also slams the president’s policies, contending that Biden’s “inaction has led to catastrophic consequences” for Texas communities.
Abbott is threatening to use a constitutional clause that allows states to act with sovereign enforcement powers in the event of an “invasion.”
Abbott on Tuesday announced that he had “invoked the Invasion Clauses of the U.S. & Texas Constitutions to fully authorize Texas to take unprecedented measures to defend our state against an invasion.”
In the tweet, he included a list of actions he said he had the constitutional authority to take, including deploying gunboats to parts of the border, deploying the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) and Texas Military Department (TMD) to escalate efforts to secure Texas’ border with Mexico.
In a letter to the Texas DPS Director Steve McCraw and TMD Adjutant General Thomas Suelzer, Abbott said, “You have an essential assignment: Use every available tool and strategy to fight back against the unprecedented invasion that Texas is seeing at our border.”
Texas National Guardsmen and troopers were already ordered under the governor to turn back migrants trying to cross the border illegally, or arrest those who have crossed unlawfully or are violating Texas law.
Since the launch of Operation Lone Star, Abbott says the multi-agency effort has led to the apprehension of more than 230,000 people who have crossed the border illegally, 21,400 criminal arrests and DPS has seized more than 350 million lethal doses of fentanyl. Due to these numbers, Vice President of the National Border Patrol Council Art Del Cueto said the border is far from secure.
“The numbers show it, the number of fentanyl deaths in the country show it, this a serious problem and individuals need to just pretty much remove their heads from the sand,” he said. “The drug smugglers don’t care which party you’re at, they just wanna come across, bring their product and hurt American lives.”
It’s not clear how many of Abbott’s proposals he can legally implement, but the move underscores the issues at the southern border, where there were a record number of encounters last month.
Abbott’s letter comes as U.S. Department of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas will return to Capitol Hill Thursday for a third round of congressional testimony. Mayorkas and FBI Director Christopher Wray will testify about threats to the U.S. and a record number of migrants being arrested at the southern border.
While Mayorkas says the border is secure, Abbott says he’s taking steps to protect his state from a flood of illegal immigration and drug cartels.