Six Texas House Democrats called on the Biden administration to exercise federal authority over GOP Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s declaration of an “invasion” at the US-Mexico border.
In a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas Thursday, Democrats said Abbott’s statement violated the Constitution by unlawfully defying federal authority.
“As members of Congress representing the great state of Texas, we are deeply disturbed by the Governor of Texas’ recent comments that he has invoked the invasion authorities under the US Constitution to order the use of state resources to further militarize our southern border to justify,” wrote members in the letter organized by Rep. Sylvia Garcia.
“As such, we are writing to urge the U.S. Department of State and Department of Homeland Security to intervene in the Texas Governor’s ongoing efforts to usurp the federal government’s powers to manage international relations and immigration law,” they added.
On Tuesday, Abbott tweeted a series of actions, including the use of “gunboats” on the Rio Grande and the designation of Mexican cartels as terrorist organizations, citing “the invasion clauses of the US and Texas constitutions.”
The moving ruffled feathers on either side of the border.
The Mexican government released a statement on Tuesday rejecting Abbott and monitoring its consular system for “violation of rights.” [of Mexican citizens] by some authority.”
“In the United States, the implementation of migration laws, border controls and the negotiation of international agreements are exclusive powers of the federal government, which is why the bilateral dialogue on these issues between our countries takes place only at this level,” the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in its publication.
“In any case, the measures announced by the governor can be understood as political measures.”
In their letter, the Texas Democrats also downplayed Abbott’s language.
“Aside from legal authority, there simply isn’t any invasion taking place on the border. Many of the immigrants who arrive at our border exercise their right to asylum and other forms of humanitarian assistance. They are not at war with the United States or Texas,” lawmakers wrote.
Texas lawmakers added that the US Constitution “prohibits states from engaging in activities that involve international affairs.”
They said that labeling a migrant phenomenon an invasion could have deadly consequences.
“Declaring an invasion under the US Constitution is an inflammatory and divisive idea that will surely lead to unnecessary litigation and foster dangerous anti-immigrant sentiment,” they wrote.
“Put simply, this type of reckless stunt will only continue to put Latino communities at risk of greater violence.”
Texas has a long history of anti-Mexican violence, including widespread prosecutions by law enforcement agencies such as the Texas Rangers well into the 20th century.
During Abbott’s tenure as governor, the state witnessed the 2019 El Paso shooting, the deadliest mass shooting against Hispanics in the nation’s history.
Along with Garcia, Democratic Representatives from Texas Al Green, Sheila Jackson-Lee, Veronica Escobar, Joaquin Castro and Lloyd Doggett signed the letter.
“We hope you will share our same sense of urgency and act accordingly to mitigate the consequences of this reckless practice,” lawmakers wrote.