(NewsNation) — Republican Gov. Greg Abbott called the situation at the U.S.-Mexico border an “invasion” in a letter sent to Texas county judges Monday.
In the letter, Abbott said that in his Executive Order GA-41, he invoked the Invasion Clauses of the U.S. and Texas Constitution to “fully authorize Texas to take unprecedented measures to fight back against the invasion at our border,” NewsNation local affiliate KXAN reported.
Abbott signed the executive order on July 7, 2022. He told the county judges he is using the constitutional authority given to him in that order, as well as others, to:
- Deploy the National Guard and Texas Department of Safety to apprehend and arrest immigrants who cross the border without authorization.
- Build a border wall in multiple counties along the border.
- Deploy gunboats to secure the border.
- Designate Mexican drug cartels as “foreign terrorist organizations.”
- Enter into a compact with other states to secure the border.
- Enter into agreements with foreign powers to enhance border security.
- Provide resources for counties on the border.
Texas has spent more than $4 billion on these initiatives, Abbott wrote in the letter. He called on the federal government to reimburse the state for these funds.
On Twitter Tuesday, he again outlined these measures, which brought some criticism on social media.
“Abbott’s militarization of Texas’ border communities is bringing chaos to once peaceful border communities,” The Texas Civil Rights Project tweeted in response.
NewsNation has reached out to Abbott’s office for comment.
Abbott recently won an election to keep his seat over Democrat Beto O’Rourke. Immigration and the border were among several issues the candidates debated.
Since April, Abbott has been transporting migrants by bus to Washington, D.C., and New York City. In August, the buses started going to Chicago.
On Tuesday, Abbott announced the first group of migrants departed for Philadelphia and will arrive there Wednesday morning.
“Texas’ busing strategy has successfully provided much-needed relief to our border communities overwhelmed by the historic influx of migrants,” Abbott said.
Abbott in a press release vowed to keep using the busing strategy until the Biden administration “does its job and provides Texans and the American people with sustainable border security.”
Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney slammed Abbott’s busing program as “cruel” but said the city is ready to welcome “our newly arrived neighbors with dignity and respect.”
The city’s Office of Immigrant Affairs and Office of Emergency Management have been coordinating with 15 community-based organizations to plan a local response for the migrants, Kenney said in a statement.
“It is possible for government and local communities to work together to strengthen systems of support for newcomers, and that has always been this administration’s vision and commitment,” Kenney said. “It is truly disgusting to hear today that Gov. Abbott and his administration continue to implement their purposefully cruel policy using immigrant families—including women and children—as pawns to shamelessly push his warped political agenda.”
Other advocates and politicians have also accused the governor of using people riding the buses as “pawns.”
“Republicans are playing politics with human beings, using them as props. What they’re doing is simply wrong, it’s un-American, it’s reckless. And we have a process in place to manage migrants at the border. We’re working to make sure it’s safe and orderly and humane. Republican officials should not interfere with that process by waging these political stunts,” Biden has previously said.
Katie Smith contributed to this article.