Published January 25, 2024

Republicans Rush To Defend Greg Abbott Amid Border Standoff With Biden

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The Dakotan
| The Dakotan
A man and woman are seen in silhouette after breaching a border fence on the southern border of the USA. They have gone through a broken barbed wire fence at mid-day. This is an illustration.
A man and woman are seen in silhouette after breaching a border fence on the southern border of the USA. They have gone through a broken barbed wire fence at mid-day. This is an illustration.

Arjun Singh on January 25, 2024 (Daily Caller News Foundation)

Many elected Republicans have issued statements of support for Republican Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas after an order from the Supreme Court of the United States permitting the Biden administration to remove the state’s razor wire barrier placed along the international border with Mexico.

Abbott has sought to undertake border security measures under Operation Lone Star, a state-run series of initiatives to reduce illegal immigration into Texas from Mexico across the Rio Grande river, which separates the jurisdictions, with one such measure being the unilateral erection of razor wire barriers. After the Supreme Court on Monday issued an order permitting the U.S. government to remove the wire, Abbott published a statement arguing that Texas had a “constitutional right to self-defense” superseding federal statutes, which many high-ranking Republicans and conservatives have supported.

“I stand with Governor Abbott. The House will do everything in its power to back him up,” wrote House Speaker Mike Johnson on X, formerly known as Twitter. “The next step: holding Secretary [Alejandro] Mayorkas accountable,” Johnson added, referring to an ongoing impeachment inquiry into the Homeland Security secretary, who oversees immigration and border security.

Johnson is the highest-ranking official to support Abbott’s defiance of the federal government. Following its order on Monday, the state of Texas has continued to erect the wire as well as deny U.S. Border Patrol agents access to Shelby Park, a 47-acre area in Eagle Pass, Texas, along the Rio Grande that is a frequent crossing point for illegal immigrants, according to the Texas Tribune.

“Texas is absolutely right. This administration is deliberately breaking the law by aiding and abetting illegal immigration at an unprecedented scale!” wrote X’s executive chairman, Elon Musk, on the platform.

Abbott has termed the influx of illegal immigrants an “invasion” and cited Article IV § 4 of the U.S. Constitution, which requires the federal government to “protect [states] against invasion.” Due to the administration’s alleged failure, Abbott claims he may invoke the state’s power under Article I § 10, permitting it to “engage in War [if] actually invaded,” though he has termed the measure “self-defense.”

Article I § 10, however, requires “the consent of Congress” before state war powers are invoked. As of yet, Congress has not granted any consent to Texas, and the Democratic-led Senate is unlikely to do so.

“Biden is saying that you’ve got to take [the wire] down to let people come in illegally, which is crazy,” remarked Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida in a video posted on Twitter. “If the constitution was originally understood to mean that a state could not protect itself against an invasion…the constitution would have never been ratified.”

DeSantis is one of several governors — of the states of AlabamaMontanaOklahomaSouth DakotaTennesseeVirginia and West Virginia — who have backed Abbott’s position.

Some Republicans have argued that Texas is not bound by the Supreme Court’s order, which vacated a decision by the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit that denied the Biden administration power to remove the wire and doesn’t apply to Texas per se. “There’s no ruling against Texas to defy. There was an order against DHS, not Texas,” wrote Republican Sen. Mike Lee of Utah.

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