Several Texas counties declared a local state of disaster on July 5 in Brackettville, Texas, because of the invasion on the southern border. They blame Biden's negligent open-border policies for the catastrophe. Kinney County Judge Tully Shahan led the charge, declaring the "Local State of Disaster" because of the out-of-control invasion on the southern border. Shahan was joined by many county judges, commissioners, mayors, attorneys, and other elected officials from Terrell, another border county, and several non-border counties; Uvalde, Medina, Goliad, and Burnet.
Shahan, from Kinney County, stated other counties also plan to join the Declaration. The Declaration states that more than "3.2 million illegals have been apprehended after entering unlawfully" at the southern border since January 2021. It is stacking up to be the largest influx of unlawful entries in recorded history.
Brent Smith, the Kinney County Attorney, drafted the Declaration. Smith has been following the immigration crisis closely on behalf of his county. Smith has also been vocal about a Biden administration DHS policy that allows Border Patrol to refrain from prosecuting illegal aliens accused of criminal mischief and other crimes. The little-known policy "disrupts the Texas judicial system" and leaves citizens of the state unprotected, he says.
Attorney General Ashley Moody addressed another significant change in policy in an April press release, explaining the removal of immigration judges from the "final determinations for migrants' asylum claims." This is a subtle but impactful change because it essentially leaves law-abiding citizens unprotected by the law.
Florida AG Ashley Moody/Press Release/https://www.myfloridalegal.com/newsrel.nsf/newsreleases/4ED5F3E66C0B66D3852588320073BEC1
Emotional Testimony: Local Elected Officials Plead for Help
Shahan became emotional as he explained just how bad the crisis is.
"This is real. We want America to know that this is real. This is not a photo-op today. America doesn't know. They don't know what's happening here. And we're here to try to change that. We don't want to lose America. The Biden administration won't do a thing about it. They could stop this thing this hour. They could stop it now."
Person after person stood up during the 90-minute press conference. They told stories of entire communities ravaged by drug cartels, illegal smuggling of drugs and human beings, and an unprecedented and lawless "rising tide of illegal aliens" pouring over the border, only to be released and/or transported to interior communities without consequence.
Rancher and Terrell County Judge Dale Lynn Carruthers told of the troubles in her border county, consisting of "91 miles of border frontage." A self-described Constitutional judge, she said her community's Constitutional rights are being routinely violated.
"Terrell County is a very desolate region of Texas, and it is being invaded. We have less than 1000 residents, and every day they live in fear of the invasion. We are doing the best we can with limited manpower. Terrell County has the least to offer and the most to lose."
County Judge Mike Bennett from Goliad County said his county, which is midway between Houston and Brackettville, "gets a lot of stopovers."
"[We see] damaged fences, damaged private property, stolen vehicles. We are a very poor county with only two stoplights and a Sheriff's department with only two deputies on duty at any given time. We have bailouts in our county, and it takes 150% of our Sheriff's Department's resources, leaving the rest of our county totally unprotected. We could hardly make budget before all this occurred. That was before it all occurred now. We're running way behind. It's straining our resources. This is not a situation where we're helping these migrants come across these illegal migrants come across this is a situation where many are dying along the way. There's a lot of carnage left in their wake."
Mayor of Uvalde, Texas, Don McLaughlin, laid out a clear picture of the drug cartel and how it ravages communities in the state. Coyotes smuggle children and other individuals into his community, about 70 miles from the border. "We have gotten pedophiles, convicted murderers, drug dealers, gang members. It is a nightmare."
Sheriff Coe/Brackettville Press Conference/July 5, 2022
Sheriff Coe also spoke. He is the sheriff who recently drove several undocumented detainees back to the border for release. He has been working with the Border Patrol since 1985 and says he "has never, ever seen what we are seeing today." He also says, "border patrol is being held back and not being permitted to do their job." Notably, the recent Supreme Court decision to end President Trump's Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), otherwise known as his Remain in Mexico Program, has added additional strain on law enforcement at the border.
Sheriff Roy Boyd from Goliad County stated candidly that this invasion is nothing more than "slave trade." Boyd continued:
"[The border crisis is] not immigration, this is slave trade. These individuals that are being brought to us, coming through our county and we're intercepting; they're not free. [They are the] property of the cartels who get them to Houston and then move them around the country where they have to work off their debt in this to the cartel, one way or another, whether that be unloading drugs, selling drugs, working in restaurants. Working in hotels or whether it be forced prostitution all across the United States of America."
Former Acting Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security, Ken Cuccinelli stated:
"There is no ceiling on how bad [the border crisis] can get. How much death do we need to see? How much violence and destruction? How much local communities and states and our whole country have to be overwhelmed. How much do the poor in this country have to lose in opportunity before our own? The federal government and working down to the state actually take the action we have desperately pleaded for today." He also made it clear that states have the Constitutional authority to take action to protect their citizens.
Waiting for Governor Abbott and Attorney General Paxton
While most of those speaking at the press conference acknowledged Governor Abbott's help, they also stated there is much more to do. The county officials want Abbott to take bolder action by declaring an invasion. They believe he can act under the constitutional authority granted unto him under Article 4, Section 7 of the Texas Constitution. Abbott also has Article 1, Section 10, Clause 3 of the U.S. Constitution to immediately prevent and/or remove all persons invading the sovereignty of Texas and that of the United States. In addition, the Texas Constitution allows the Governor "to call forth the militia to execute the laws of the State, to suppress insurrections, and to repel invasions." The County officials need Governor Abbott and Attorney General Ken Paxton to declare an invasion at the border because it will otherwise be very difficult to execute the Declaration on a meaningful scale.
A February 7, 2022 opinion from Arizona's Attorney General Mark Brnovich affirmed that the border crisis meets the criteria for a legitimate invasion that impinges on American citizens' sovereign rights and security. Russ Vought, President of Citizens For Renewing America (CFRA), is a strong proponent of the Declaration. He and Cuccinelli have asked Governors Abbott and Ducey to promote states' rights to protect their borders from invasion as they are the only remedy that remains to curb the massive influx of illegals. Vought and Cuccinelli issued a joint statement praising the officials' Declaration.
In April, Abbott approved the "transfer of $495.3 million to continue funding Operation Lone Star" to help fund efforts to manage the invasion. However, as many at the press conference stated, his action has fallen short of the remedy needed to solve the dire border problem. Neither Abbott nor Paxton have responded to the pleas.
As Sheriff Boyd stated, "Abbott threw us a lifeline when we were drowning. We appreciate everything he has done. But the tide is rising, the work is increasing, and the invasion is continuing." Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX21)) agrees. He says people are coming in unlawfully only to be released into the interior without repercussions. Roy said states need to "step into the breach" because of the federal government's "refusal to defend our sovereign nation from cartels who are well-armed." Roy continued:
"You're damn right this is an invasion. We can sit around and hand-wring and wrap [ourselves] around the axle about the definition of invasion. But these individuals have the courage to stand up and the courage to say it, formally—to formally declare it is true. We are having an invasion."