(The Center Square) – One year after declaring an invasion in Texas, the first judges and officials to do so are still combating cartel violence and urging other county officials throughout the state to also declare an invasion. They’re also warning Americans about the imminent threats they face, and argue American sovereignty and Texas sovereignty are worth fighting for.

On April 21, 2021, newly elected Kinney County Attorney Brent Smith drafted a disaster declaration signed by then Judge Tully Shahan stating the “health, life and property” of county residents was “under imminent threat of disaster from the human trafficking occurring on our border with Mexico.”

Soon after, dozens of counties followed. By May 31, 2021, Gov. Greg Abbott issued a disaster declaration citing the border crisis. He also launched Operation Lone Star to combat cartel-driven crime and announced Texas was building its own border wall.

By June 2021, Smith began advocating for Texas to declare an invasion, saying as a sovereign state, Texas has the right to defend its own border. One year later, on July 5, 2022, five counties, led by Kinney County, declared an invasion – the first to do so in Texas history.

Smith “drafted the Declaration of Invasion … in an attempt to describe the crisis we are experiencing on the ground here in Kinney County,” he told The Center Square. “However, I don’t think words can adequately describe how it feels to lose the security and protection we once had. How do you describe the feeling you have when you see your federal government abandon its own citizens in favor of someone else illegally in the country?”

He also did it “to support Governor Abbot invoking his constitutional authority under the Texas and U.S. Constitutions to repel the invasion,” he said. “While Kinney County alone would not have a significant impact in this regard, I believe it sent a resounding message of support to our Governor when over 40 counties adopted its language into their own Declarations of Invasion.”

At least 42 counties have declared an invasion, with more expected to do so soon.

“While the border crisis has now been recognized as an invasion by most conservative state leaders, many of them in the state legislature have not produced any meaningful results yet,” Smith lamented, referring to the Republican-led House killing the most significant border security bills ever passed in the Texas Senate.

The Texas legislature’s “lack of fortitude and commitment to secure the safety of Texans is disturbing to say the least,” Smith said. “Waiting for the federal government to do their job after the past two years is just foolish at this point.”

Since Biden’s been in office, more than eight million people have been apprehended or reported evading capture after illegally entering the U.S.

Kinney County Judge Tully Shahan, one of the first to declare an invasion, told The Center Square, “For those of us that live on the border, make our livings on the border, from El Paso to Brownsville, it’s gotten worse. The people who are in charge of taking care of our border are sticking their head in the sand.”

Kinney County Sheriff Brad Coe says the county, state and U.S. are experiencing a “silent invasion” of military age men.

Goliad County Judge Mike Bennett, one of the first to declare an invasion, maintains, “we are losing our republic.” He told The Center Square he wants “the rest of the Texas county judges to join us and sign invasion declaration so we can present a united front to the governor. We are serious as the county judges in Texas about making a difference.”

Goliad County Sheriff Roy Boyd, who created an Operation Lone Star task force, told The Center Square, “A year after the declaration of invasion by counties across Texas, we find ourselves still dealing with the impacts of an open border. While our efforts have made an impact locally, and smuggling organizations have been dismantled, the truth is that the flow has not stopped. The methodology of smuggling may have changed, but the importation of tens of thousands of non-citizens continues unabated. And the cartel slave trade prospers as much today as it did a year ago.”

Terrell County Judge Dale Carruthers, one of the first to declare an invasion, told The Center Square, “I wish we didn’t have to talk about this a year later. Our first year was hell. What will it be like next year?”

A lifelong Democrat who switched parties last year and was sworn into office on the same day as Biden, she said she took the same oath he and other elected officials did – to defend the U.S. Constitution from threats both foreign and domestic. But since then, she said, “we’ve been fighting for the sovereignty of this nation, and he’s been destroying it.”

“We’ve been working day and night to protect the county,” she continued, and “he’s [President Biden] been destroying America. We took the same oath. We declared invasion standing by that oath to protect and defend the sovereignty of this nation.

“Did he even listen to himself as he said his own words?” she asked of Biden.

To the American people, she said, “We’re telling you what’s happening. Your house is on fire right now. Open your eyes. Get the scales off your eyes. This is your nation, and you can stop this.”

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