Texas Rep. Jodey Arrington is backing moves by officials in his state to take matters relating to the migrant crisis into their own hands, claiming President Biden “surrendered control” of the border and describing the situation as an invasion.
“They are absolutely doing the right thing, and I commend the governor for following suit,” the Republican congressman told Fox News Digital in an interview this week.
Arrington spoke after a flurry of moves in Texas related to the border. On Tuesday, multiple counties declared the crisis at the southern border an “invasion” and called on Gov. Greg Abbott to do the same, arguing that it would give the state more power to send illegal immigrants to Mexico.
“We want America to know that this is real,” Kinney County Judge Tully Shahan told reporters. “The Biden administration won’t do a thing about it. They could stop this thing this hour. They could stop it now. They don’t have the guts.”TEXAS GOV. ABBOTT AUTHORIZES LAW ENFORCEMENT TO RETURN ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS TO BORDER
Abbott signed an executive order Thursday that allows the Texas National Guard and the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) to apprehend and return illegal immigrants who have crossed between ports of entry to the southern border. Under the order, illegal aliens will be taken to the U.S., but not into Mexico.
Abbott has so far not issued a formal invasion declaration, but his executive order did reference the word “invasion,” saying the Biden administration has “abandoned the covenant, in Article IV, § 4 of the U.S. Constitution, that ‘[t]he United States … shall protect each [State in this Union] against Invasion …'”
Arrington introduced a resolution last year calling the crisis at the border, which has seen more than 239,000 migrant encounters in May alone, an invasion. And he was supportive of both the actions of the counties and of Abbott. He blamed the crisis on President Biden and his administration, who he said had failed to “provide for common defense and to repel an invasion.”
“You have a federal government under the leadership of a derelict president who has surrendered control of the border to paramilitary narco-terrorist drug cartels,” he said. “And these cartels are very organized, very sophisticated and military capable.”
Arrington noted not only the sheer number of migrants coming across the border, but also the fentanyl crisis, which has contributed to a massive number of drug overdoses in the U.S. Most fentanyl is smuggled in via the U.S. Mexico-land border, and the Drug Enforcement Administration warned earlier this year of a “nationwide spike” in fentanyl-related overdoses.
The agency cited Centers for Disease Control and Prevention statistics showing that, during a 12-month period ending in October, there were more than 105,000 drug overdoses, 66% of which were related to fentanyl and other synthetic opioids.
“If you had Al Qaeda or ISIS or some terrorist group that had control of our border and was pushing this poison into our communities and killing our families and our children and our citizens, I guarantee you that people would see this differently,” Arrington said.
“But it is an invasion, and it is an onslaught, and we are under siege. And there is no other choice for a state leader, a governor, in good conscience, then to declare it as such and begin to enforce the laws of the land and secure the border and protect their citizens. And that that’s what I believe is happening with our current governor.”
He called criticism the governor had faced for not going far enough to officially declare an invasion “premature.”
“I’m encouraged that he’s exercising the powers that are there for states in this circumstance and that the tactics that he mentions also in his executive order that he will deploy seem to be the right ones,” Arrington said. “And I’m going to trust that my governor will implement and execute on those in a way that will turn the tide in Texas. And maybe other states will be emboldened by that and follow suit and maybe more scrutiny and pressure will be brought to bear on this president for not having done his most important job.”
Abbott is also facing pressure from the Biden administration, which is investigating the state’s Operation Lone Star, which surged resources and law enforcement to the border as part of an effort to stop illegal immigration into the state.
Arrington said he was not surprised by the efforts of the administration, which he accused of having “weaponized” the levers of power “like no other administration.”
“So I’m not surprised that this administration would abuse its power and harass Gov. Abbott and the state of Texas for standing up for themselves and the defense of their citizens when this administration’s own policies have created this constitutional crisis,” Arrington said.