When the Rev. Al Sharpton used the word “invasion” to describe the onslaught of migrants at the southern U.S. border on Monday, his MSNBC guest suddenly stopped nodding along. And then the fast blinking began — he was triggered. Because to the American left, the word “invasion” is off-limits and even “violence-inciting.”
But the word — and the concept — are at the heart of what’s happening in Texas, as Gov. Greg Abbott stands up to the Biden administration and its open border policies. He rightly contends that according to the U.S. Constitution, Texas does not merely have the Constitutional power to defend itself — it has a constitutional and moral responsibility to do so.
To qualify as an invader in the constitutional framework requires two qualities: entry into a sovereign territory, and enmity toward the sovereign. An immigrant without enmity is not an invader, nor is an enemy that stays outside our borders.
Consider some examples of what the Founders did consider invaders: foreign powers, pirates, and hostile tribes. In today’s context, a vast multinational criminal cartel whose activities and personnel enter America, harm Americans, destroy or commandeer property, defend routes on private and public lands, coerce American officials through extortion or bribery, and do so with the collaboration and collusion of a foreign state power is absolutely an invader, and would have been immediately recognized as such by the American Founders.
Sharpton wasn’t siding with Abbott, however; he was pushing the new Senate border bill.
But that bill misses the mark almost entirely on all these points. With its stupefying allowance of several million illegal entries per year, its comically constricted “border emergency” framework, its loosening of the asylum process, its billions in funding for the human-trafficking complex, and its wildly permissive structure for allowing the executive branch to override even its own minor strictures, the bill is right now Exhibit A in the contention that the border crisis is a choice made by Washington, D.C.
The border-security crisis is also a choice by Mexico’s own powerholders, stemming from two major motivations. The first motivation is simple: money. We must understand this very clearly: The Mexican state and the Mexican cartels are the same — including the president of Mexico himself.
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) has repeatedly sided with the criminal cartels, particularly the Sinaloa cartel. This includes his rhetorical generosity toward it, his public visits to honor the aged mother of the jailed drug lord El Chapo, and his political party’s use of its sicario enforcers to kill opposition candidates and rig elections.
AMLO’s policy of “abrazos no balazos” (hugs, not bullets), effectively prevents the use of force against cartel violence; he has handed over civil powers to his own army apparatus, which itself is a major trafficking organization and uses violence against Mexican civilians who defend themselves against cartels; and he has vowed to use the Mexican armed forces to defend Mexican cartels against the Americans.
The second motivation for Mexico City is leverage: leverage versus the United States, which is the only power capable of arresting and disincentivizing Mexico’s slide into narco-state status.
Mexico City understands two things very well: It makes billions off the border-security crisis, especially in human trafficking, and the crisis gives it leverage over U.S. officeholders, especially as the latter come under pressure from the American people to secure the border and defend our communities.
Texas has undertaken a variety of efforts in defense of itself and its citizenry that the federal government has refused to do:
- Texas has illuminated the national scope of the border crisis, and invoked the principle of equity within it, by its transportation of migrants to leftist-run localities across the country.
- Texas has used its military forces for their proper and primary purpose, in the defense of its own territory and citizenry, with the use of the Texas Military Department, including the personnel of the Texas Army National Guard, in Operation Lone Star.
- Texas has built effective border-barrier infrastructure not once, but twice — with its innovative buoy barriers in the Rio Grande, and its barriers on the river’s north bank.
- Texas has a new law that allows Texas law enforcement to intercept and de facto deport illegal entrants into Texas.
The federal government ought to be doing all these things — but it is not, and therefore Texas must see to its own self-defense. As Abbott has noted, in failing to do so, the federal government has abdicated its own Constitutional responsibility to the states.
Make no mistake, Texas is faithfully executing the law — both its own, and the Constitution’s, which provides in Article I, Section 10, for a state to defend itself against invasion.
Joshua S. Treviño is the Chief of Intelligence and Research and the Director for Texas Identity at the Texas Public Policy Foundation.
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