The dilemma: Dozens of local officials have urged their Republican governors to declare the border crisis in their states an “invasion” under the U.S. Constitution. This would authorize governors to take unprecedented military action against illegal immigration if the federal government won’t fulfill its duty to secure the border.
Why now? Nearly 4 million people have entered the country illegally since Biden’s inauguration, thousands of which have gone unvetted by overwhelmed Border Patrol officials. Drug cartels have smuggled in record amounts of illicit opioids, driving an overdose epidemic that has killed hundreds of thousands of Americans.
It’s a state issue: The Biden administration has repeatedly denied or shifted blame for the consequences of its lax border policies, shown no sign of changing course, and ignored Republicans’ proposals for stopping the crisis.
What to expect: No sitting governor has indicated that they will invoke these emergency powers to manage their borders, which would likely spark heavy legal battles. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott expressed concern about federal prosecution for conducting deportations. In Arizona, however, gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake has promised to make the move if elected, citing the “inherent” constitutional authority of states to defend their sovereignty.