Dangerous Rhetoric: Texas Gov. Greg Abbott Sticks to Claim that Immigration is an ‘Invasion’

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has issued a statement concerning undocumented migration as being an “invasion,” which has dangerous implications exceeding the razor wire case. He mentions a Texas case where the state placed water buoys in the Rio Grande River, an argument rejected by the trial court and the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Abbott and his lawyers cite James Madison; however, Madison rejected the idea that immigration qualifies as invasion. If courts were to accept this idea, it would have absurd and dangerous implications, allowing Texas to “engage in war” without congressional authorization. There has always been large-scale undocumented migration across the southern border, even under past presidents like Donald Trump, as a natural consequence of severe restrictions on legal migration and job opportunities in the US. Texas’ reasoning implies that the federal government could suspend the writ of habeas corpus and detain both migrants and US citizens without charges, a dangerous proposal. The argument that drug smuggling and immigration equate to an invasion has dangerous policy implications, as it may lead to political pressure for draconian measures and the idea of invading Mexico. The Supreme Court ruling does not order Texas itself to do anything, only lifting lower court injunctions barring federal officials from cutting the razor wire installed by Texas. However, Texas’s invasion arguments have dangerous implications for both legal and political reasons, which courts would do well to reject.