Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has declared that the state is under invasion at its border with Mexico, under the meaning of Article I, Section 10 of the United States Constitution. New research from the Texas Public Policy Foundation clarifies that meaning, in the light of the Founders’ intent, and charts a way forward for the state in invoking its Constitutional and legitimate powers.

The research, titled “The Meaning of Invasion Under the Compact Clause of the U.S. Constitution,” defines the two criteria for an invasion under Article I, Section 10. Using the criteria of entry, or trespass, combined with enmity, or the intent by the invader to subvert or overthrow lawful sovereignty, the Constitution lays out what conditions must be met to declare an invasion.

“Governor Abbott is entirely correct in asserting that an invasion, in the Constitutional sense, is underway at our border with Mexico,” said Joshua Treviño, chief of intelligence and research for TPPF. “The intersection of the Mexican state and Mexican cartels, along with their indisputable hostility toward American and Texan sovereignty, means we no longer have an immigration crisis — we have an invasion crisis. This research from the Foundation shows us how to understand it — and points the way toward where to go next.”

Key Points

  • The American history of the term “invasion” reveals that its literal meaning is entry plus enmity: Entry alone, which is trespass, is not sufficient to constitute an invasion.
  • Although the Framers occasionally used “invade” in a metaphorical sense, we know that in the Compact Clause they used the word in its literal sense, because that clause’s ancestor text in the Articles of Confederation refers to invasion “by enemies.”
  • Past non-state actors, like pirates and barbarians, fell under the category of “invaders” in the opinion of certain American statesmen, such as Madison.
  • Present-day non-state actors, like cartel-affiliated gangs operating within the territory of a U.S. state, may fall under the category of invaders, provided their criminal activity reaches a scale or degree of organization that deliberately overthrows or curtails the lawful sovereignty of the state.

To read the full research, please click here.