quotes Unraveling Texas’ US union credentials

09 February 2024
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Updated 09 February 2024

Unraveling Texas’ US union credentials

The Texas secession movement currently being debated in the American political context is nothing new.

While it could lead toward the independence of the state of Texas from the American Union, such a possibility is remote due to many political, economic, historical, and constitutional factors.

However, that should not mean the issue being taken lightly and it must be considered carefully.

The situation stems from a difference of opinion between Texas Gov. Gregory Abbott and US President Joe Biden over policies to control the vast numbers of illegal immigrants entering America through Texas’ border with Mexico.

Abbott and the US’ Republican Party have accused the Biden administration of making it too easy for hundreds of thousands of people to get into the country illegally with moves such as allowing those arriving from Mexico to stay in the US indefinitely until their cases have been decided by the courts. It is argued that many fail to show up for their hearings.

Several American city leaders have claimed that the large influx of illegal immigrants has limited their ability to provide them with services such as housing.

A case in point is Denver, in Colorado. The city has a population of 700,000, but also 40,000 illegal immigrants, many of them without accommodation.

Texas has a history of seeking independence from the US. Once part of Mexico, the state joined the US in 1837. There was an effort to secede during and after the American Civil War (1861-1865) and there have been other attempts since.

The US Constitution does not specifically address the right of states to secede from the American Union, but it does allow freedom of speech. In doing so, any request to quit the American Union could be considered a constitutional right.

However, the Supreme Court in America has failed on numerous occasions to deliver a decisive decision or legal opinion on whether or not states have the right to secede from the US. And this lack of clarity has applied to Texas too.

Some of those in favor of the right to leave have argued that the US government should not stand in the way if the majority of a state’s population wanted independence.

In June 2022, the Republican Party of Texas issued a committee report supporting the Texas Legislature to introduce a referendum in 2023 on seceding from the US, but it never materialized.

The whole question of American states seceding from the Union remains open to debate, but it would be a long process if it was ever to become a legal practically.

Any state gaining independence would likely struggle to govern, and it could well become isolated on the international stage.

Another area of disagreement between Abbott and Biden has been over the right to deploy the National Guard of Texas to protect America’s southern borders and stop the flow of illegal immigrants.

Abbott has argued that he should be able to use the military force in any capacity, but as commander-in-chief of the US armed forces the president has maintained that it is his right alone.

It is an issue that must be settled quickly. If America intervened militarily abroad in an armed conflict, the world would need to know who had ordered the sending of its troops — the US president or the governor of an American state.

Faisal Al-Shammeri is a political analyst. X: @Mr_Alshammeri