By Anton Riecher
The Medina County Commissioners Court voted unanimously Aug. 25 to approve a resolution in support of Texas governor Greg Abbott continuing opposition to illegal immigration across the state’s border with Mexico.
“Now therefore be it resolved that the Medina County Commissioners Court recognizes the failure of the federal government to perform its duties and supports Governor Abbott’s actions to attempt to Secure the Texas Border,” the resolution states.
Timothy Neuman, precinct 1 commissioner, made the motion to approve the resolution, seconded by Larry Sittre, precinct 2 commissioner.
However, County Judge Chris Schuchart stood firm in his opposition to the legal wording of a “declaration of invasion” supported by other Texas counties and elected officials that cites the U.S. Constitution as granting states the power to expel migrants crossing the border in the event of invasion.
Schuchart, who made his opposition clear at the commissioners’ Aug. 11 meeting, restated his position to supporters of the original “declaration” version of the anti-illegal immigration document.
“The document that you want us to pass is flawed,” Schuchart said. “It basically doesn’t follow the law. It cites five different footnotes that I can only confirm one of them to be fact.”
At the root of the impasse is the definition of the word “invasion” as accepted by U.S. Courts.
“The Supreme Court has never overruled three federal appellate courts who say an invasion is not illegal immigrants coming across,” Schuchart said. “We all agree we have a huge problem but it doesn’t fit the definition of an invasion.”
Abbott, himself a former attorney general of the state, has taken no formal action on the declarations.
Schuchart, a retired attorney, also took issue with the proclaiming the document a declaration rather than a resolution. Of the 18 counties that have taken a position on the “invasion” issue, six have chosen to pass resolutions rather than declarations.
“There is a difference between a declaration of invasion and a resolution,” he said. “We will pass a resolution.”
Speaking in support of the original “declaration,” Hank Seay of La Coste said the present immigration situation “definitely fits my definition of an invasion.” To call it anything else amounted to “playing semantics.”
“I understand that politics always seems to get in the way and muddy the waters,” Seay said. “I believe that’s exactly what has happened here.”
Robert Oberlender of Natalia and David Logan also spoke in support of the “invasion” declaration.
“I think it’s an invasion regardless of the terminology and the definition of the word,” Logan said.
Mona Walters, another declaration supporter, inferred that refusal to back the original language amounted to an attack on Medina County Republican Party chairperson Julie Clark who spoke in favor of the declaration at the Aug. 11 meeting.
“Members of our Republican party who support Julie Clark have become alarmed,” Walters said. “Several have called and told me that threats have been made against Julie and her husband.”
Schuchart said he and the commissioners were on the same side as the declaration supporters on the anti-illegal immigration issue.
“We are all Republicans,” Schuchart said. “Everybody sitting (on the commissioners’ court) is a Republican. But for some reason the tactics that are being used against us are astonishing to me…”
Passage of an anti-illegal immigration resolution will not save citizens threatened by crime in the county, he said.
“That man over there (pointing to Sheriff Randy Brown) and his staff will save citizens,” Schuchart said.
To aid in that effort, the commissioners have added six new deputies to the sheriff’s office, plus three more school reserve officers (in Medina Valley ISD schools) who, during the summer, become part of the sheriff’s staff, Schuchart said. The county is also buying the sheriff 14 more emergency vehicles.
“We are spending money to protect the citizens,” Schuchart said.
You can watch our video coverage of the meeting at: