Much of the debate surrounding the issue of border security and immigration centers on the word “invasion.” Texas Governor Gregg Abbott argues that Article IV of the US Constitution promises that the federal government “shall protect each [State] against invasion.” It also describes “the States’ sovereign interest in protecting their borders.”
He also provides some history. “James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and the other visionaries who wrote the US Constitution foresaw that States should not be left to the mercy of a lawless president who does nothing to stop external threats like cartels smuggling millions of illegal immigrants across the border.”
Critics rightly point out that people walking into the US cannot be termed an invasion. Nearly every court has interpreted that to mean “an armed hostility from another political entity.” James Madison labeled invasion an attack by one state on another. The Constitutional Convention debates connected the power to repel invasions with the power to raise armies.
While it cannot be called an invasion, the impact may feel just about the same. When the Supreme Court ruled recently that the Biden Administration could remove razor wire from the border, one pundit asked a different question. Instead of an army crossing the border, what about a gang of drug dealers and cartels dealing in human trafficking? They may not be an invasion in the legal sense, but it is doing great damage just the same.
Whatever the definition, American voters know there is a problem at the border. The most recent Harvard CAPS-Harris poll asked voters their top policy concern. Immigration was first, and inflation was second. Border security and immigration are likely to be the most discussed issues in this campaign.