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Texas congressional delegation: Abbott defending state sovereignty from invasion

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Republican members of the Texas congressional delegation expressed support Thursday for Gov. Greg Abbott defending Texas’ sovereign right to defend its border in response to a lawsuit filed by the Biden administration.

U.S. Rep. Jody Arrington said at a Thursday news conference that President Joe Biden and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas “surrendered control [of the border] to terrorist drug cartels and the results have been devastating.”

What makes the border crisis “the most imminent safety and security threat to the U.S. is the unprecedented invasion by the drug cartels,” Arrington said. The federal government is required by the U.S. Constitution to secure its borders, including those of states.

“The sovereign states created the federal government,” he said, “not the other way around. When the states entered into that social contract of the Constitution of the United States they may have ceded some of their authority to the central government but they didn’t surrender their sovereignty.”

The states included a safeguard in the constitution “to protect their sovereign powers especially as it relates to their security matters,” Arrington said.

“Article 4, Section 4 of the U.S. Constitution guarantees to each and every state the federal government ‘shall protect them against an invasion,’” he said. “Article 1, Section 10, states that when a state is actually invaded or their citizens are in imminent danger that state has a right to defend itself. The constitution is abundantly clear on this matter. When a president fails in his sacred oath to faithfully execute the laws of the land and fails to provide a common defense, states do not have to be passive victims of a failed federal government.”

He told Gov. Abbott: “Stay the course. Stand your ground and continue to defend the state of Texas. You are doing what is right and what is necessary.”

The U.S. Department of Justice on Monday filed a civil complaint against Texas over a floating barrier of buoys strung together in the Rio Grande River to prevent illegal border crossings into Texas, part of Abbott’s border security efforts, Operation Lone Star.

The DOJ said the floating barrier was constructed without federal authorization as required under the Rivers and Harbors Act and creates a humanitarian threat. The complaint seeks to stop construction of the barrier and to require Texas to remove it.

But Arrington’s sentiments defending Abbott’s border security efforts were echoed by other members of the Texas delegation.

“Gov. Abbot is doing his duty as governor and DPS, led by Steve McCraw, they are doing their duty. Frankly, they are going beyond their duty. They are doing the duty of Border Patrol … of ICE … and Alejandro Mayorkas is supposed to be carrying out,” U.S. Rep. Chip Roy said.

“We’re gonna have to decide as Texans what we’re going to do about it. I just want to be 100% clear, I stand behind Gov. Abbott being as aggressive as he needs to be to defend the people of Texas, period, full stop. He has my full support. I will fight every inch of the way against this federal government in terms of what is happening to Texas.”

Rep. Brian Babin said, “Texas has a constitutional right to defend its own border from an invasion that’s occurring as we are speaking today.” Babin was a driving force behind counties in his district declaring an invasion, including the 10th county to do so in deep east Texas, Tyler County. At least 46 counties have so far, all citing the invasion clauses of the U.S. Constitution in their resolutions.

Rep. Lance Gooden pointed out that the Biden administration continues to claim the border is secure. “If the border is so secure, they should not worry at all about what Greg Abbott is doing,” he said.

“It’s one thing that the federal government has refused to secure the border … it’s another thing when they actually get in our way and tell us we have to stop securing our border.”

Other members who participated in the press conference expressing support for Gov. Abbott were Reps. Michael Cloud, Ronny Jackson, and Jake Ellzey.

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