While citizens increase calls on Texas Gov. Greg Abbott to declare the border crisis an invasion and have the state remove illegal aliens in the federal government’s absence, he has stopped short of doing so.

Thursday, Abbott issued an executive order authorizing the Texas National Guard and the Texas Department of Public Safety to “return” illegal immigrants to the border.

According to the governor’s office, “The Biden Administration’s decision to end Title 42 expulsions and the Remain-in-Mexico policy has led to historic levels of illegal crossings, with 5,000 migrants being apprehended over the July 4th weekend, creating a border crisis that has overrun communities along the border and across Texas.”

Indeed, Border Patrol has arrested more than 1.7 million illegal border crossers since the beginning of the federal fiscal year in October. However, thousands more have evaded Border Patrol only to be captured by Texas forces as part of Operation Lone Star—Abbott’s border security push—or to escape into the U.S.

“The cartels have become emboldened and enriched by President Biden’s open border policies, smuggling in record numbers of people, weapons, and deadly drugs like fentanyl,” said Abbott.

This authorization by the governor follows several South Texas counties’—Kinney, Goliad, Uvalde, Val Verde, Terrell, and Zavala—announced intent to declare the border crisis an invasion themselves, as well as the Republican Party of Texas calling Abbott to declare an invasion and invoke Article I, Section 10, Clause 3 of the U.S. Constitution to protect Texans.

Additionally, National Border Patrol Council Vice President Art Del Cueto called out Abbott earlier this week for his hesitancy in declaring the crisis an invasion, stating Texas “should’ve declared an invasion a long time ago.”

Although Abbott authorized the Texas National Guard and DPS to return illegal immigrants caught between ports of entry to the border, he did not actually declare the border crisis an invasion.

Instead, the governor’s executive order states that the Biden administration “has abandoned the covenant, in Article IV, § 4 of the U.S. Constitution, that ‘[t]he United States . . . shall protect each [State in this Union] against Invasion,’ and thus has forced the State of Texas to build a border wall, deploy state military forces, and enter into agreements as described in Article I, § 10 of the U.S. Constitution to secure the State of Texas and repel the illegal immigration that funds the cartels.”

Ken Cuccinelli and Russ Vought of the Center for Renewing America developed the plan for border states declaring an invasion, and they say the following of Abbott’s new order:

No significant changes to current policy. This is still catch and release. … The Governor does not appear to formally declare an invasion nor direct the National Guard and Department of Public Safety to remove illegals across the border directly to Mexico. That is critical. Otherwise this is still catch and release.

Kinney County Attorney Brent Smith told Texas Scorecard, “This move may be a positive step in having the Supreme Court revisit Arizona v. U.S., but the directives of this order will simply result in illegal aliens being detained in Texas and released in Texas. Without declaring an invasion and invoking the self defense clause under Article 1, the lawlessness and violence occurring on our border with Mexico will continue to be allowed by DHS and their unconstitutional immigration policies.”

Sydnie Henry

A born and bred Texan, Sydnie serves as the Managing Editor for Texas Scorecard. She graduated from Patrick Henry College with a B.A. in Government and is utilizing her research and writing skills to spread truth to Texans.