Now Texas Governor Abbott sends TANKS to the border after invoking invasion clause
Texas Governor Greg Abbott is deploying National Guard troops in M113 armored personnel carriers to various positions along the border after earlier threatening to use gunboats in an attempt to quell the influx of migrants at the border.
The news comes after Abbott invoked a constitutional clause on Wednesday warning President Joe Biden that the Lone Star state would go rogue to defend itself from what he calls a migrant ‘invasion’ at the southern border.
Texas Military Department officials ordered the 10 armored personnel carriers on Thursday and announced around 50 soldiers would be trained to operate them.
Armored personnel carriers are large, heavily armored vehicles that move on tracks like tanks but are designed to carry troops into battle alongside tanks.
Affectionately known as the ‘battle taxi’ by troops in the Army, the M113 is bulletproof and can withstand small explosions – the US recently sent 200 to Ukraine for the country’s fight against Russia.
It remains unclear if the armored personnel carriers sent to the border will have any weaponry attached, but the vehicle can equip heavy machine guns and grenade launchers.
The M113 armored personnel carrier, lovingly known as the ‘battle taxi’ by troops, is being deployed to the Texas-Mexico border as Governor Abbott attempts to halt the border crisis
Texas Military Department officials ordered the 10 armored personnel carriers on Thursday as Abbott says Texas is ‘left with no choice but to escalate our efforts to secure our state.’
Texas Governor Greg Abbott is set to increase state enforcement resources along the southern border, including the use of gunboats on the Rio Grande
‘These actions are part of a larger strategy to use every available tool to fight back against the record-breaking level of illegal immigration,’ said a statement from the Texas Military Department.
In addition to the armored personnel carriers, the department announced increased ‘aircraft flights and security efforts’ as the state takes ‘unprecedented measures to safeguard our border.’
On Wednesday, Abbott made it clear to President Biden that Texas is taking the border crisis seriously, telling him that ‘Texans are paying the price for your failure’ at the border and the Democrat’s policies have led to ‘catastrophic consequences.’
Abbott announced his intent to invoke the clause on Tuesday, along with a list of controversial enforcement proposals.
‘Your silence in the face of our repeated pleas is deafening. Your refusal to even visit the border for a firsthand look at the chaos you have caused is damning,’ the searing note went on.
‘Two years of inaction on your part now leave Texas with no choice but to escalate our efforts to secure our state.’
Abbott also told Biden the founders who crafted the Constitution and that particular invasion clause “foresaw your failures.”
The constitutional clause Abbott is invoking to ramp up the resources at the border is found in Article I Section 10 of the Constitution, and forbids individual states from unilateral military action ‘unless actually invaded, or in such imminent danger as will not admit of delay. ‘
A record surge in asylum-seekers attempting to cross into the US through Mexico under the last two years of Biden’s term has strained the US federal immigration system.
Before he sent the letter to Biden, Abbott took to Twitter to inform his followers he ‘invoked the Invasion Clauses of the US & Texas Constitutions to fully authorize Texas to take unprecedented measures to defend our state against an invasion.’
He also wants to ‘build a wall in multiple counties on the border,’ ‘deploy gun boats to secure the border,’ and designate Mexican-based drug cartels as foreign terrorist organizations – something that only the federal government can do.
Aerial view of migrants camping on the banks of the Rio Bravo river (or Rio Grande river, as it is called in the US) in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua state, Mexico, taken on November 15, 2022
Abbott wrote several letters this week addressing local and federal officials about his plans to crack down on migrants crossing the border from Mexico.
More than 2.3 million people were encountered trying to cross the US border last fiscal year (pictured: An asylum-seeking migrant woman reacts as she walks toward a border patrol agent after being smuggled across the Rio Grande river from Mexico into Roma, Texas, US , November 9, 2022)
Abbott also called for entering security ‘compacts’ with other states and ‘entering into agreements with foreign powers to enhance border security.’
The post mirrors a separate letter Abbott sent to county judges along the Texas-Mexico border on Monday in which he vowed to take executive action and invoke the clause.
‘Texas has devoted more than $4 billion of Texas taxpayer dollars toward these and other efforts to secure the border and enhance public safety,’ the letter stated of the collective initiatives.
Last month there were 230,678 recorded encounters between undocumented migrants and Border Patrol officers, the most recent data show. That’s a slight increase from September.
The list includes deploying the National Guard and Texas Department of Public Safety to arrest migrants and send them back across the border — it’s not clear if asylum-seekers are included.
He also wants to “build a wall in multiple counties on the border,” “deploy gun boats to secure the border,” and designate Mexican-based drug cartels as foreign terrorists.
More than 2.3 million migrants were arrested along the southern border last fiscal year, the highest recorded number in US history.
More than 1.6 million were adults, 560,600 were families and 152,000 were unaccompanied minors – an all-time high for that group.
Abbott has also ramped up pressure on Democratic politicians to get serious about the border crisis by sending busloads of immigrants to ‘sanctuary cities’ across the US, most recently to Philadelphia.
Texas has transported more than 13,000 migrants to those cities since April, with Abbott decrying the repeal of Trump-era Title 42 legislation that allowed border officials to immediately expel asylum-seekers due to COVID-19.
‘This will further signal to cartels, human smugglers, & illegal immigrants that the border is wide open – inciting more violence & lawlessness,’ he said.
Federal officers made more than 230,600 arrests in October at the US-Mexico border, and expelled more than 78,400 without providing a chance for them to plead their cases.