Under the Constitution, the federal government has the responsibility to provide for the national security of the United States. Congress has the power to raise and fund armies and navies, to declare war, and to make laws regarding such non-state foreign threats as piracy. The president has the responsibility to lead and appoint officers, and to faithfully administer the laws, and when necessary, to command forces in war, or in the suppression of invasion or rebellion.
In the modern world, those powers have expanded to include an increasingly powerful intelligence and law enforcement apparatus dominated by the CIA and FBI but accompanied by a vast mélange of other smaller specialized agencies. In exchange for these powers, the federal government has an obligation to provide for the security of the several states in an effective and timely way. And if they do not, then the states retain a right under Article 1 Section 9 of the Constitution to provide their own security for such imminent threats as invasion or insurrection.
Increasingly however, the confidence of states and their citizens in the federal government’s ability to provide for that common defense is slipping.
Illegal aliens continue to stream across the Southern border, thanks to the Biden Administration’s decision to erase major Trump-era immigration and border policies—whether incompetent or malicious. Eliminating the existing border security policies, they have done nothing to counter the inevitable massive flow of migrants that resulted, with Vice President Kamala Harris as of this writing refusing to even travel to the border and observe the crisis.
The numbers are unprecedented. In just one small segment of the border known as the Del Rio Sector, 119,000 illegal aliens have been apprehended since January, an increase of 393% over last year. Sleepy southern Texas towns are now overrun with police pursuits and jails are overflowing with human smugglers. Ranchers and their families huddle behind locked doors watching on game cameras as groups of unidentified camouflaged men with tactical backpacks move across their land in tight formation at night.
Now Texas Governor Greg Abbott has positioned the state of Texas to step into the void. In an emergency declaration issued May 31, Abbott described the federal government as having “shown unwillingness, ambivalence, or inability” to enforce the law and protect the state. In a recent trip to the border, Abbott declared that Texas would take steps to complete the border wall in the state, and to arrest and detain illegal crossers under all applicable federal and state laws. Abbott will face very real challenges, both legal and practical, in coming up with a Texas-led plan, but the vacuum created by a delinquent national government has left the Lone Star state no other choice.
By Kyle Shideler
About Kyle Shideler
Kyle Shideler is the Director and Senior Analyst for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism at the Center for Security Policy, where he conducts research and analysis on domestic threats to the US homeland, with an emphasis on the doctrines that fuel terrorism. Specializing in Islamist groups operating in the United States, Mr. Shideler has been researching and writing on their history, doctrine, and impact for more than a decade. He has briefed senior US Government personnel, Members of Congress, law enforcement officers, testified before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on the Constitution, and the Canadian Senate Standing Committee on National Security and Defense.