Texas gov taps troops to defend vs migrant ‘invaders’

WASHINGTON (AFP) — Newly reelected Texas Governor Tony Abbott, a Republican immigration hardliner, has taken to Twitter to say that he was deploying the national guard and gunboats to turn back migrants.

“I 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 tweeted on Tuesday.

Those clauses, he said, would allow him to “build a border wall” and “designate Mexican drug cartels as foreign terrorist organizations.”

Abbott’s statement was in reaction to a United States federal judge ruling on Tuesday that the government could not use public health rules to block the entry of asylum-seeking migrants, marking the apparent end of a controversial Donald Trump-era policy that has been criticized as cruel and ineffective.

Judge Emmet Sullivan said Title 42, which has been used to expel hundreds of thousands of people since being invoked in the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic, was an “arbitrary and capricious” policy that violated government procedures.

The Department of Homeland Security filed a stay motion asking that Tuesday’s decision be suspended for five weeks, but stressed it was doing so as a transitional measure.

The stay, until midnight on 21 December, would give the government time to put in place tools to stem the flow of migrants at the southern border with Mexico, most of whom ask for asylum.

The ballooning numbers at the border — more than 200,000 have been interdicted each month this year — is an increasing political headache for President Joe Biden and his Democratic Party, who the Republicans have repeatedly sought to paint as soft on illegal immigration.

Tuesday’s ruling also came after a lawsuit brought in January by the American Civil Liberties Union, which accused the Department of Homeland Security and Border Patrol of “summary expulsion” of vulnerable families seeking asylum who showed no signs of Covid infection.


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