(The Center Square) – Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is among the 25 governors who has expressed support for Texas defending its border. He was one of the first governors to send reinforcements to support Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s Operation Lone Star border security effort roughly two years ago.
DeSantis responded to an ultimatum given Thursday by the Biden administration to Abbott to take down concertina wire barriers it constructed and relinquish control of a park in Eagle Pass, Texas. The president is also demanding that Texas allow access to a 2.5 mile stretch of state land along the Rio Grande River so that Border Patrol agents can allow illegal foreign nationals to enter between ports of entry.
Doing so is a direct violation of laws established by Congress and the U.S. Constitution, Abbott argues, and he refuses to comply with any demands.
The conflict escalated after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Border Patrol agents could destroy Texas concertina wire barriers in Eagle Pass. It does not instruct Texas to remove the barriers or to stop enforcing state law.
The Biden administration argues Texas’ actions are unconstitutional and disrupt Border Patrol operations. Abbott argues the president is facilitating criminal activity, has violated his oath of office, and broken the federal government’s compact with the states.
The escalation continues as calls for President Joe Biden to federalize Texas National Guard troops raise additional constitutional issues. If Texas troops were to be federalized when they were called up under constitutional authority to secure the Texas border, such a move could constitute an impeachable offense, a constitutional law expert argues.
On Thursday, DeSantis posted a video asking, “Can the federal government defy the law and force a state to allow a foreign invasion?,” answering the founding fathers would say no.
The president demanding Texas “remove fortifications along its border to let people come in illegally is just crazy,” DeSantis said. “If the constitution was originally understood to mean that a state could not protect itself against an invasion, that the federal government could force a state to allow an invasion, the constitution would have never been ratified in the first place. Texas would have never joined the union when it did.”
He also pointed to Federalist 46 in which founding father James Madison described “situations where federal encroachment can be mitigated by state action.” He said Texas is “holding its ground and has every right to fortify the border visa via an invasion,” referring to Article 1, Section 10 of the constitution.
The clause has been cited in invasion resolutions passed by officials in 51 Texas counties, with more expected to follow. Kinney, Goliad and Terrell counties were the first to declare an invasion in Texas and U.S. history, on July 5, 2022. The constitutional issues playing out today are what they warned about in 2021 when they were also the first to issue disaster declarations, citing the border crisis.
DeSantis also pointed to situations “where liberal jurisdictions over many years have been sanctuary jurisdictions against enforcing federal immigration law. They will deliberately act to frustrate the laws on the books and somehow that’s viewed as OK” but it’s not OK when Texas is “acting to enforce the laws on the books to ensure that they have a secure state and that we have a secure country,” he said.
“So all of this is just nonsense what Biden’s doing,” DeSantis continued. “Texas has every right to stand its ground. We in Florida have been sending people to help for many years now because we understand it’s not just the Texas issue it’s ultimately an American issue. If we don’t have sovereignty in this country, then we’re not going to be a country anymore. Texas has every right to hold their ground to stay the course and Florida will continue to be there helping out every step of the way.”