(NewsNation) — Some county leaders and judges in Texas are asking Gov. Greg Abbott and Attorney General Ken Paxton to declare an “invasion” at the southern border. The requests aim to trigger what they say is the state’s constitutional right to self-defense; in this case, when it comes to migrants crossing the border or removing people trying to “invade” the state.
As it stands, the counties along the border do not get any extra privileges. They hope that will change if Texas leaders declare the surge of migrants an “invasion.”
“Now, if they do, they will be able to physically remove people. They will be able to physically prevent people from crossing into the U.S. right now. They cannot do that. You cannot touch a migrant. That is something Border Patrol is doing or a deputized National Guard soldier. So right now, they can’t turn people away at the border. That is something that would be allowed if (the Texas leaders) declared an invasion,” independent journalist Ali Bradley said.
Some of the leaders along the border say they are under siege and need more resources. Kinney County Judge Tully Shahan, whose county sits on the border, said they are in over their head and want to move forward by adopting the invasion language.
“Last year, we saw 1.7 million encounters. This year, we’re already at 1.5 million. We have not seen June numbers. They do expect that to surpass last year’s numbers when we get the June numbers in,” Bradley said.
“Right now, the sheer numbers, the volume of people, is really, really what they’re concerned about. But it’s not just these people that we’re seeing here. These are self surrenders, people that want to be apprehended, so that they can claim asylum and carry on their journey into the United States prior to their court hearing. What they’re really concerned about is the 800,000-plus got aways since this administration took over. Now, those are people that are seen on cameras or seen in a bailout pursuit and never apprehended. So those are people that aren’t vetted.
“Those are people that are in the interior of the United States and they go on checks. That is something that these counties are primarily concerned about, because these are not necessarily border counties that are involved right now. They are considered border counties, but they’re inland. So they’re seeing more pursuits, more bailouts happening in elementary school parking lots. So that’s what they’re more concerned about.”
The governor’s office said all options are still on the table. Abbott declined to declare the situation an invasion earlier this year.
The Texas Tribune reports that the call to declare an invasion for purposes of cracking down on immigration issues is based on a theory from Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich. Some have called his theory a political ploy since he is running for a U.S. Senate seat in Arizona.
The renewed push for an invasion declaration comes after 53 migrants were found dead or dying in an abandoned, sweltering tractor-trailer last week on the edge of San Antonio.