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Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott says his administration will continue to defy the Biden White House and step up enforcement actions against migrants who cross into the state illegally, accusing the president of failing to fulfill his constitutional duty to execute border security and immigration laws faithfully.
In a two-week dispute between the state and federal governments over the jurisdiction of a 2.5-mile stretch of Texas land, Abbott made a defiant statement on Wednesday afternoon, openly opposing the Biden administration’s directives to cease action.
Abbott asserted in a public letter that Texas possesses a “constitutional right to self-defense,” emphasizing that the White House had not fulfilled its obligation under the nation’s founding document to ensure that the federal government will protect all 50 states and territories by not taking measures to control the surge of unauthorized immigrants over the previous three years, the Washington Examiner reported.
“The Executive Branch of the United States has a constitutional duty to enforce federal laws protecting states, including immigration laws on the books right now. President Biden has refused to enforce those laws and has even violated them,” Abbott wrote.
My statement on Texas’ constitutional right to self-defense. pic.twitter.com/seNFZdmujP
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) January 24, 2024
After President Biden ignored his earlier pleas to step up border enforcement, Abbott said he was justified in declaring an “invasion” in November 2022.
“The failure of the Biden Administration to fulfill the duties imposed by Article IV, § 4 has triggered Article I,§ 10, Clause 3, which reserves to this State the right of self-defense,” Abbott continued. “For these reasons, I have already declared an invasion under Article I, § 10, Clause 3 to invoke Texas’s constitutional authority to defend and protect itself.”
The governor, serving his third term, stated that due to his belief that the federal government had not upheld its responsibility to safeguard the state at the international border, and as the state opted to take independent action, Texas holds legal justification to bypass existing laws that would otherwise require it to adhere to federal policies.
“That authority is the supreme law of the land and supersedes any federal statutes to the contrary,” Abbott said. “The Texas National Guard, the Texas Department of Public Safety, and other Texas personnel are acting on that authority, as well as state law, to secure the Texas border.”
On Tuesday, the Department of Homeland Security sent a letter to Attorney General Ken Paxton, in which DHS General Counsel Jonathan Meyer criticized the state for its lack of action following the U.S. Supreme Court’s rescinded an appeals court injunction, permitting federal authorities to remove razor wire fencing in Eagle Pass to aid in the rescue and apprehension of unauthorized immigrants crossing the Rio Grande.
“The state has alleged that Shelby Park is open to the public, but we do not believe this statement is
accurate,” Meyer said. “To our knowledge, Texas has only permitted access to Shelby Park by allowing public entry for a memorial, the media, and use of the golf course adjacent to Shelby Park, all while continuing to restrict U.S. Border Patrol’s access to the park.”
Meyer stated that the Supreme Court ruling permitted federal law enforcement not only to remove wire at the border but also to be present at the border, the latter of which had been unattainable since the Texas National Guard took control of the city land and restricted access to federal employees on January 10th.
“The Department must also have the ability to access the border in the Shelby Park area that is currently obstructed by Texas,” Meyer wrote.
The Examiner added: “Abbott added that he has repeatedly stated his concerns about the border to the Biden administration, including during a brief in-person meeting in El Paso in early 2022, when he handed Biden a written letter.”