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In Texas, the Border Crisis Fuels Support for Independence

Texans may want to secede, but can they?

by | Feb 17, 2024 | Articles, Opinion, Politics

The migrant crisis along the southern border is again bringing up the topic of Texas seceding from the union, and according to a Redfield & Wilton poll conducted exclusively for Newsweek, the numbers in favor of such independence are growing.

Texas Border Crisis and Gaining Independence

Gov. Greg Abbott (R) and the Biden administration have been locking horns on the issue of illegal immigration. Recently, the Supreme Court ruled that Border Patrol agents had the right to remove the razor wire Texas officials had placed to prevent illegals crossing into the territory. Abbott, however, is saying the state has the constitutional authority to defend and protect itself, claiming it is suffering from an invasion.

“The ongoing migrant crisis makes 44 percent of Texans either more likely or significantly more likely to support the state becoming a fully independent country,” according to the survey for Newsweek. Thirty-five percent said they were “neither more nor less likely,” while just 16% said they were less likely to back a secession from the United States.

Daniel Miller, president of the Texas Nationalist Movement, told Newsweek:

“There is no clearer example of why Texas needs independence than the federal government’s destruction of our southern border and their pro-cartel immigration policies.

“The more the federal government doubles-down on its anti-Texas border policies, the stronger our support becomes. This is why we will win referendum on Texit.”

Professor Matt Qvortrup, a political scientist and author of I Want to Break Free: A Practical Guide to Making a New Country, told the outlet that the results from this poll should be taken seriously. It suggests that those who want Texit are at the same level of support as those who supported Brexit in 2010.

This is not the first time we’ve heard the rallying cries of succession from Texas, but is it legally possible for a state to quit the Union? A Nov. 11, 1860, editorial for the Dubuque Herald stated:

“So, if the rights of the people of the United States as recognized by the Constitution, are not secured to them by the Government, and the people of any State have no other means to redress their grievances except by separating themselves from their oppressors, it is their undoubted natural right to do so.”

Over the years, there’s been some confusion about secession and annexation. In 1845, a ruling stated that the Lone Star State could choose to divide itself into four new states, which some have associated with meaning it could secede from the United States as well. However, in 1869, the Supreme Court ruled in the Texas v. White case that states could not unilaterally secede from the Union. Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase stated at the time: “When Texas became one of the United States, she entered into an indissoluble relation. All the obligations of perpetual union, and all the guaranties of republican government in the Union, attached at once to the state. The Act, which consummated her admission into the Union, was something more than a compact; it was the incorporation of a new member into the political body. And it was final.”

More recently, in 2006, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was asked by a screenwriter if there was a legal basis for secession. He wrote, “The answer is clear. If there was any constitutional issue resolved by the Civil War, it is that there is no right to secede.”

To say Texas, or any other state, cannot secede is not totally accurate, but it would take an act of Congress. Literally. To be released from the Union, territories would have to get approval from Congress first. Of course, not everyone is aware of the rules, such as with Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley, speaking during a Jan. 31 episode of The Breakfast Club. Host Charlamagne tha God referenced Texas’ dispute with the government and asked if she believes states have the right to secede. She answered: “If Texas decides they want to do that, they can do that … If that whole state says, ‘We don’t want to be part of America anymore,’ I mean, that’s their decision to make.” She did, however, correct that during a Feb. 4 interview with CNN, saying, “The Constitution doesn’t allow for that.”

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