KINNEY COUNTY, Texas—Local officials in small Texas counties are calling on Gov. Greg Abbott to label the border crisis an “invasion” and use his constitutional authority to stop illegal immigration.
Kinney County Judge Tully Shahan signed a local disaster declaration on July 5 requesting that Abbott “immediately prevent and/or remove all persons violating the sovereignty of Texas and that of the United States.”
Four other Texas counties followed suit, including Goliad, Terrell, Edwards, and Jeff Davis. Several others also intend to sign declarations.
At a press conference on July 5, Shahan said a smuggler recently fired his .22 pistol into oncoming traffic while trying to evade state troopers who were pursuing him. No one was injured, but a local woman later counted 10 bullet holes in her vehicle.
“The groups [of illegal aliens] are coming in camo. It makes you wonder. They’re not here to pick flowers,” Terrell County Judge Dale Carruthers told The Epoch Times. She owns a ranch that borders Mexico, and her county shares 91 miles of international border.
Carruthers said a young woman who was recently apprehended within a group of illegal aliens had been gang-raped by the men in the group along the way.
The Kinney County declaration cites the more than 3.2 million illegal aliens encountered along the southern border since President Joe Biden took office in January 2021, as well as the increasing number of overdose deaths caused by drugs being brought over the border.
“The sophisticated human smuggling and drug trafficking organizations that facilitate these criminal acts are spearheaded by violent international drug cartels who have operational control over our unsecured U.S.–Mexico border,” the declaration states.
“Whereas the ongoing humanitarian crisis on the Texas border is not acceptable, and has resulted in a security threat and humanitarian disaster with overwhelming consequences to the residents of Kinney County and Texans alike,” the declaration states.
Prior to 2021, one dead body per year was the average for the county.
During May, the Kinney County Sheriff’s Office recorded 4,200 illegal aliens walking through local ranches after crossing from Mexico. The county shares 16 miles of border with Mexico, and most of its 1,400 square miles is remote ranchland.
Goliad Sheriff Roy Boyd said his department’s deputies have arrested illegal aliens who are convicted criminals, including murderers, rapists, and pedophiles.
Kinney County Attorney Brent Smith, who helped draft the declaration, said that while Abbott isn’t obligated to do anything about the declaration, he hopes more Texas counties will join to apply more pressure on the governor.
“This is just basically a plea for help to the governor. And the counties on the border who are living through this nightmare every day—the things that we see tell us it’s an invasion. We’re the ones witnessing it,” Smith told The Epoch Times.
“Unless you have a secure border, you don’t have a state, you don’t have a nation. Until we have a secure border, we have no business passing any other laws about anything else. It’s like worrying about what color tablecloth you’re going to buy for your kitchen table while the house is burning down around you.”
Carruthers said her county’s commissioners will ratify the declaration on July 11 and she expects to hear from Abbott soon after.
“The Biden Administration has been so inept or apathetic to the plight of Texas and other border states, that it very well could rise to a violation of Article 4, Section 4 of the U.S. Constitution,” Krause wrote in a Facebook post that accompanied a copy of the official letter.
“So, today, I asked the Attorney General for an official opinion on whether that violation has occurred here in Texas.”
Smith said he had expected Paxton’s opinion to be published by now and suggested the reason it hasn’t been is “likely political pressure.”
“The on-the-ground violence and lawlessness at Arizona’s border caused by cartels and gangs is extensive, well-documented, and persistent,” the opinion reads. “It can satisfy the definition of ‘actually invaded’ and ‘invasion’ under the U.S. Constitution.”