Trump, Wading Into Texas Border Dispute With Biden, Calls on ‘All Willing States’ To Send ‘Guards’

The former president’s remarks come amid a growing constitutional debate as Democrats call for President Biden to take over Texas’ National Guard forces due to the governor’s refusal to abide by a Supreme Court ruling.

AP/Eric Gay, file
Concertina wire along the Rio Grande on September 21, 2023, at Eagle Pass, Texas. AP/Eric Gay, file

In an escalation of the dispute between Texas and the Biden administration, President Trump is calling on “all willing states” to send “guards,” an apparent reference to National Guard forces, to the southern border.

“We encourage all willing States to deploy their guards to Texas to prevent the entry of Illegals, and to remove them back across the Border,” Mr. Trump said in a statement late Thursday.

The former president is now the most prominent Republican to join in a growing group of GOP officials who are standing with Texas in its push to continue erecting barriers to stop the influx of migrants at the southern border, despite the Supreme Court siding with the Biden Administration in a suit over the issue.

“Instead of fighting to protect our Country” from what Mr. Trump describes as an “onslaught” of migrants, the former president complained that President Biden “is, unbelievably, fighting to tie the hands of Governor Abbott and the State of Texas, so that the Invasion continues unchecked.”

Mr. Trump’s remarks followed calls by Democrats for President Biden to take over Texas’ National Guard forces due to what they see as a refusal to abide by the Supreme Court’s ruling.

Mr. Abbott, Congressman Joaquin Castro argued on X, “is using the Texas National Guard to obstruct and create chaos at the border.” As a result, Mr. Castro added, Mr. Biden “needs to establish sole federal control of the Texas National Guard now.”

Mr. Biden’s Homeland Security department had sued Texas, saying that the wire barriers that they were putting up along a stretch of the southern border were preventing the border patrol from accessing the area.

Border Patrol agents have as recently as this month complained about Texas officials barring them from accessing the border, a claim which the Texas Military Department disputes.

The Supreme Court, in a ruling Monday, ruled that federal law enforcement officials could remove the barriers that Texas had placed along the border. Since then, Texas has begun placing more razor wire along the border. 

Texas Democrats, like Congressman Greg Casar, have called Mr. Abbott’s actions “political stunts,”  saying in a statement that he is using “inflammatory language to advance his own agenda, violating the Constitution and endangering both U.S. citizens and asylum seekers.”

The Republican governor explains his apparent defiance of the nation’s highest court by contending that his state is under “invasion” and that Mr. Biden has breached his duty under “Article IV, section 4” of the constitution. 

That, Mr. Abbott contends, has provoked another constitutional provision that he says “reserves to this State the right of self-defense.” The Lone Star governor is referring to the third clause of Article I, section 10 of the constitution.

That provision forbids any state to “engage in War, unless actually invaded,” or “in such imminent Danger as will not admit of delay.” Mr. Abbott contends this language “reserves to this State the right of self-defense.” He adds that this “authority is the supreme law of the land and supersedes any federal statutes to the contrary.”

Mr. Trump’s remarks Thursday argued that “Texas has rightly invoked the Invasion Clause of the Constitution, and must be given full support to repel the Invasion.”

Mr. Biden points to a different section of the constitution, its so-called “Supremacy Clause,” which means “state law cannot be applied to restrain those federal agents from carrying out their federally authorized activities,” as the solicitor-general, Elizabeth Prelogar, described it to the Supreme Court in a filing regarding the border dispute.

Texas’ position had been backed by the riders of the Fifth Circuit of the United States Court of Appeals, which, in a December ruling, had barred Homeland Security officials from removing the wire barriers Texas had placed along the border while the dispute was before the court.

The ruling temporarily forbid Homeland Security officials “from damaging, destroying, or otherwise interfering with Texas’s c-wire fence in the vicinity of Eagle Pass, Texas,” the riders said, in a reference to barbed or concertina wire.  Provision was made to allow officials “to cut or move the c-wire if necessary to address any medical emergency.”

Ms. Prelogar contended that the circuit riders erred “by requiring federal law to yield to Texas law.” She added that if the Supreme Court had agreed with such reasoning,  it “would leave the United States at the mercy of States that could seek to force the federal government to conform the implementation of federal immigration law to varying state-law regimes.”

The Supreme Court agreed with Ms. Prelogar’s argument, reversing the halt imposed by the circuit riders and sending the dispute back to the appeals court for further consideration. 

The high court made no explanation of this decision, but noted that Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch, and Brett Kavanaugh would not have granted the Biden administration’s request.

Republicans have expressed their support for Texas and Governor Abbott since the Supreme Court ruling, with the governors of 25 states issuing statements in support of Mr. Abbott. 

“I hope Texas law allows law enforcement and public safety officials to use all legal methods up to and including necessary force to stop people from crossing the border illegally,” Governor Noem of South Dakota said in a statement. “It only takes one or two to send a message that illegal activity will not be tolerated.”

The one-time Democratic nominee for Senate in Texas, Congressman Robert “Beto” O’Rourke, has also responded, calling the border wire “inhumane” and saying that some of the barriers erected in the Rio Grande serve “no purpose but to entangle, maim, and drown desperate human beings.”


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