A group of around 1000 migrants rushed the bridge at Paseo Del Norte on the border between Juarez and El Paso on Sunday, but that’s OK because it’s not an invasion.
The migrants, mostly from Venezuela, had been gathering at the foot of the bridge for a while, and over 1000 of them “rushed” the bridge following a rumor that the border would be open. There were also frustrations expressed by migrants that the US government app used for asylum registration was not working properly.
By this point in the border saga, there are few surprises. The asylum process is broken. The immigration process is broken. The border security process is broken. It’s no surprise that the government app is broken. The cartels have free reign. There are many, many ways in which everything related to migration or immigration just doesn’t work, and there are very few at the Federal level who are proposing solutions that are likely to make any difference at all.
An independent Texas could set its own border and immigration policies. This obvious truth is staring us all in the face. Even though we are a few years away from solving the border problem with fully Texas solutions, Texas has seen some progress.
Some 11 counties have declared the migrant crisis as an invasion, specific language designed to invoke clauses in both the US and Texas constitutions. Should an invasion be formally declared by the governor or the legislature, Texas can use its armed forces and law enforcement agencies to secure the border. “Invasion” changes the rules of engagement.
With the Texas legislature in session, there have been two filings that could make a difference.
Senator Lois Kolkhorst filed Senate resolution SCR 23 that would designate the drug cartels as terrorists, would declare that Texas is under invasion, and would authorize the use of Texas’ resources pursuant to the constitutional authority of the state to repel invasion. This is the legislative version of the solution that many have been calling for from the governor for over a year. Identical resolutions have been filed in the House and the resolutions have been referred to the Border Security committee.
House Bill 20, filed by Texas Republican Rep. Matt Schaefer, would test the state’s ability to enforce immigration law. This would be a direct challenge to US vs. Arizona, the court ruling that placed immigration law enforcement responsibility solely in Federal hands.
HB20 would create a “Border Protection Unit,” which would allow empowered citizens to “arrest, detain, and deter individuals crossing the border illegally including with the use of non-deadly force.” According to the bill, officers of the unit must be U.S. citizens or permanent legal residents or have law enforcement experience. The bill also proposes to give officers in this unit immunity “from criminal and civil liability for any actions taken that are authorized” by the proposed law. It also would allow the unit to “use force” to detain cartel operations.
The bill would also allow the unit chief to employ civilians who have not been convicted of a felony “to participate in unit operations and functions, but such persons may not have arresting authority unless trained and specifically authorized by the governor.”
Texas has already committed billions of dollars to Operation Lone Star. This bill would formalize elements of that strategy, and would establish a special law enforcement division for border issues. If we are going to have to fund our own border patrol, what do we need the Federal border patrol to do? Regardless of the timeline of Texas independence, this bill sets up the structure necessary for Texas to manage its own border. This bill also sets up a direct challenge to the Federal government for their inability to keep the border orderly and secure.
No one knows yet what the legislative process will put forward, but we do know what has been filed. Each step toward sovereignty of our border is a step toward independence. Whether it’s an invasion declaration, the creation of our own border law enforcement, or even a full rewrite of law by declaring independence, one thing is for certain: Texas’ solutions won’t be worse than the status quo.