Following President Joe Biden’s inauguration in 2021, the number of illegal border crossings immediately increased, hitting Texas’ border especially hard.
“Under the current administration, illegal aliens have more rights than the American citizens do,” Kinney County Rancher Cole Hill told Texas Scorecard in January of 2022.
Nearly a year later, the U.S. has seen record-breaking numbers of illegal aliens crossing the southwest border—2.3 million in the last federal fiscal year and hundreds of thousands already in the new fiscal year, which began in October.
In March of 2021, the state responded to the open border policies of the Biden administration by instituting Operation Lone Star, a border security effort combining the resources of the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Texas Military Department. While it paid dividends in Gov. Greg Abbott’s re-election campaign, OLS has been plagued with issues as the TMD has been hamstrung from accomplishing its purported mission of slowing illegal crossings, despite nearly $4 billion in funding.
Abbott then concocted another scheme—busing illegal aliens north into the interior of the country, which served its purpose as a publicity stunt but didn’t change the crisis in Texas. As of December 20, 2022, Texas has bused more than 15,000 illegal aliens to cities such as Philadelphia, Chicago, D.C., and New York City, costing taxpayers about $1,400 per rider.
As Texas spends billions in defensive measures, “It makes sense, in the absence of action by the federal government, for the state of Texas to expend resources to secure its border and protect its sovereignty,” said Texans for Fiscal Responsibility Executive Director Jeramy Kitchen.
“What does not make sense is for the state Legislature to appropriate taxpayer money with very little accountability or virtually no definition of what success looks like in relation to the state’s expanded efforts,” said Kitchen.
Meanwhile, federal, state, and local activists are calling on Gov. Greg Abbott to use his constitutional authority—under Article I, Section 10, Clause 3 of the U.S. Constitution—to defend Texas by declaring a foreign invasion and expelling illegal border-crossers amid the federal government’s dereliction of duty.
Even Fox News host Tucker Carlson has criticized Abbott for refusing to repel the invasion, saying, “Wouldn’t defending our own border from an invasion of millions of people be the single most important thing any American could do?”
Because there hasn’t been more effective action on the issue, “the continued destruction of private property in Texas has forced families to move away from the border,” explains Kinney County Attorney and rancher Brent Smith.
In July of 2022, Kinney County became the first of several counties to issue their own invasion declarations, urging Abbott to do the same and take decisive action to stop it.
So far, 43 Texas counties have issued such declarations: Kinney, Goliad, Terrell, Parker, Wise, Edwards, Atascosa, Presidio, Tyler, Live Oak, Rockwall, Johnson, Wilson, Hardin, Chambers, Ellis, Orange, Liberty, Throckmorton, Madison, Jasper, Van Zandt, Wichita, Clay, Jack, Hunt, Montague, Hood, Wharton, Burnet, Collin, McMullen, Hamilton, Lavaca, Ector, Leon, Navarro, Waller, Fannin, Harrison, Somervell, Franklin, and Shackelford.
And although Abbott has since acknowledged the state is being invaded, his policies have not changed at all.
“Make no mistake, the Texas border will only be secured once our state leaders decide to do it themselves,” says Smith. “Until then, the death and destruction of an open border will continue to spread.”
Securing the border and protecting Texans is one of eight GOP priorities chosen by thousands of Republican delegates for the upcoming 2023 legislative session, which begins on January 10.
Texans for Strong Borders is advocating for state lawmakers to “actually allocat[e] resources from the state budget to directly go and combat this invasion, and that would basically force Gov. Abbott’s hand.”
“Words cannot adequately describe the conditions on the ground,” said Smith, explaining border residents are feeling hopeless and abandoned by the state and federal government. “I don’t know what another year of this will mean for Kinney County, or what the county will look like at that point. Our county residents are at the breaking point of enduring this crisis already. All we can do is put our faith in God and pray that our state leaders act to end this nightmare soon.”