President Joe Biden refuses to defend America's southern border while millions of illegal aliens cross unhindered, women and children are trafficked, drug cartels maintain operational control, and Americans die from fentanyl. But contrary to the claims of Biden's Department of Justice, states are not powerless to act. It is time for border states like Texas and Arizona to challenge the administration and take bold action to stop this invasion.

It is beyond dispute that the situation at the southern border is a crisis of monumental proportions. In 2021, an estimated 2 million people crossed the southern border illegally. Experts say 2022 is shaping up to be far worse.

Many have hesitated to call this disaster an "invasion." But to quote Congressman Chip Roy, "You're damn right that's an invasion. What else do you call it?" Most Texans would agree.

In Arizona last week, Kari Lake won the GOP nomination for governor on a pledge that Arizona will act where the federal government has failed. It was a big victory—Lake netted over 48 percent of the vote to secure the nomination.

"As governor," Lake promised, "I will issue a declaration of invasion, finish President Trump's wall, blow up the cartels' drug tunnels and surveillance drones, and deploy the Arizona National Guard to stop illegals from entering. Arizona is our home and I will do everything in my power to defend our families."

Finish President Donald Trump's wall? Blow up drug tunnels? Deploy the Arizona National Guard? Can a governor really do all that?

She can. Though securing the border is the federal government's responsibility, the Constitution empowers state governments to act when our federal government refuses.

Article I, Section 10, Clause 3 of the U.S. Constitution states, "No State shall, without the Consent of Congress, lay any Duty of Tonnage, keep Troops, or Ships of War in time of Peace, enter into any Agreement or Compact with another State, or with a foreign Power, or engage in War, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent Danger as will not admit of delay."

United States Border Patrol agent Carlos Rivera is reflected in the window of a vehicle as he speaks to another agent along the border wall in downtown El Paso, Texas on June 3, 2022.Paul Ratje / AFP/Getty Images

In October of last year, President Donald Trump's Homeland Security appointee Ken Cuccinelli (now at the Center for Renewing America) elevated this issue. He argues that when the federal government fails to secure our nation's borders, states have not just an ability, but a duty, to defend their citizens.

"Governors and state legislators have a duty to their constituents, fellow citizens, neighbors, and families that undergirds the oath they take to uphold both the United States Constitution and their respective state constitutions," wrote Cuccinelli. "Yes, protection of our nation's borders constitutionally and even statutorily largely falls under the purview of our federal government. But our federal government is not just sitting idle as states and communities suffer, it is willfully refusing to enact the very policies and execute the very laws that can bring the crisis to an end."

Cuccinelli is right. President Joe Biden's outright refusal to defend our nation's border compels our states to act.

Thus far, no governor in America has done more to secure the southern border than Texas' Greg Abbott. Under Abbott's leadership, Texas has allocated billions in additional border security funding and deployed the Texas National Guard to assist in apprehending illegal aliens who cross the border. But so long as the Biden administration is committed to open borders, that effort amounts to state participation in the Democrats' preferred outcome: catch and release.

This must end. The lives and liberties of Texans are under attack.

We cannot afford to stand by any longer. We cannot afford to rely on Washington to secure the Texas border. We cannot wait for Arizona to lead.

At the recent Texas GOP convention in Houston, grassroots Republicans voted overwhelmingly to make stopping this invasion a legislative priority.

Governor Abbott last month directed state officers to apprehend border crossers and deliver them to designated ports of entry. Texas Republicans are calling on him to take his commitment to defending our border a step farther, declare an invasion, and direct state officers to deliver illegal aliens back over the border. This is necessary to defend the safety and sovereignty of our state.

Our Founding Fathers enshrined states' right to defend themselves in the Constitution. Kari Lake and Arizona Republicans are ready to fight. Texas Republicans are too.

An attorney and former state representative, Matt Rinaldi is the chairman of the Republican Party of Texas.

The views expressed in this article are the writer's own.