No matter what the Department of Homeland Security Secretary Mayorkas says, the mess at our southern border, especially Texas, is a crisis. It’s not a “challenge” as has been the talking-point of Biden White House Media Director Jen Psaki. It’s a true “humanitarian” crisis.
Americans thought that during the latter days of the Trump Administration, illegal immigration was under control. If one listens to the leaders in the Biden Administration, nothing could be further from the truth. That was the excuse for President Biden to overturn each Trump executive order on his first day as President, having to do with illegal immigration. That included the agreement between the Mexican government and the U.S. for Mexico to hold ALL illegals coming to the southern U.S. border seeking asylum. This operation, when initiated, went a long way toward stopping illegal immigration for two reasons. First, illegals who made that trek across Mexico were discouraged, knowing that they would be stopped and held in Mexico pending asylum eligibility when reaching our border. Secondly, the termination of Obama’s “Catch and Release” action released all illegals after only a promise they would return for court hearings on their asylum claim. 90%+ of such asylum claims are being denied several years later when those cases finally come before an immigration judge.
The dangers of that “Catch and Release” program are monumental, especially today. COVID-19 is now embedded in our nation but, not just ours, but all of those Central American countries plus Mexico. From each of these countries, these illegals are bringing COVID-19 with them to the U.S.! Those new variants of COVID-19 are prevalent in Central and South America, and American officials are desperate to keep them out of our country.
The Biden Administration has NO COVID testing program in place to know which migrants are infected. Now that tens of thousands are coming in each month under Biden’s policies, it is known that numerous of those have COVID-19. But a majority are not tested, therefore having an infection status unknown. And DHS/ICE are instructed to put them on busses and airplanes to ship them to towns and cities across America without knowing their physical conditions — especially COVID-19 status. Even worse, it is known that numerous of those coming have felony criminal records in their home countries, are involved in human trafficking and even child sex trafficking. “Catch and Release” puts them on our American streets with little or no information about them and with no idea if they’re murderers, sex predators, or drug cartel members, or just good people fleeing desperate situations in their home countries.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott lashed out at President Biden’s administration on Wednesday over this surge in migrant arrivals on his state’s southern border. Abbott delivered his remarks at a press conference in Dallas, across the street from the Kay Bailey Hutchinson Convention Center, where the federal government plans to house 3,000 unaccompanied immigrant teens.
“These sites are a direct result of President Biden’s reckless open-border policies that are causing a surge in border crossings and cartel activity,” Abbott told reporters. “The Biden administration must also answer for enticing unaccompanied minors into inhumane conditions that expose these children to traffickers, to abuse, and terror,” he added.
In recent weeks, Texas politicians, including many Republicans, have claimed that the Biden administration’s policies create an unprecedented crisis on the U.S./Mexico border. The governor prompted backlash after blaming migrants for spreading COVID-19 the same week he lifted statewide coronavirus restrictions, including a mask mandate. Earlier this month, Abbott launched Operation Lone Star, which a press release at the time said “integrates DPS with the Texas National Guard” and includes operations aimed at targeting Mexican drug cartels, smugglers, and others crossing the border.
On Wednesday, the governor said he was “expanding the scope of Operation Lone Star to crack down on human trafficking,” explaining that the Texas Department of Public Safety will work with several agencies to focus on trafficking and continue to “apprehend unaccompanied minors” who cross the border. “Today, I am directly asking the Biden administration to allow the Texas Department of Public Safety to access this facility across the street at the Kay Bailey Hutchinson Center as well as the other federally run centers in Texas, to be able to talk to these unaccompanied minors,” he said.
“Texas is willing to step up and help out, but this is the Biden administration’s responsibility,” the governor said. “In part, immigration is always a federal responsibility. In part, it’s the policies that have been adopted by the Biden administration that escalated the number of children coming across the border.”
Meanwhile, Texas Republicans have doubled down in their criticism of the Biden administration’s approach to the border. In El Paso on Monday, House minority leader Kevin McCarthy said, “There’s no other way to claim it than a Biden border crisis.”
Why Don’t Border States Takeover Border Security?
One would think that having 50 individual states, each state would have Constitutional jurisdictions retained, but with federal authorization to protect their individual borders. That seems logical. But, of course, it makes TOO MUCH sense to allow it to happen. Why?
Many, but not all, state laws addressing immigration are preempted by federal law. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the federal government has broad and exclusive power to regulate immigration, preempting state and local laws that also attempt to do so. In this context, state regulation of immigration means a state law or local ordinance that decides who should or should not be admitted into the country and the conditions under which a legal entrant may remain. State laws that in context affect immigration, such as employment licensing laws that can be revoked for violations of federal immigration laws, are specifically permissible.
There is no bright-line test for determining when states can validly act in the immigration arena; litigants must seek court rulings on a case-by-case basis. This has resulted in substantial uncertainty and significant inconsistencies in court approaches to these questions.
Preemption of State Laws Regulating Immigration
The Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution invalidates (preempts) state laws that interfere with or are contrary to federal law (Article VI, Cl. 2). Concerning immigration-related matters, the U.S. Supreme Court has held that:
the regulation of aliens is so intimately blended and intertwined with responsibilities of the national government that where it acts, and the state also acts on the same subject, the act of Congress or treaty is supreme; and the law of the state, though enacted in the exercise of powers not controverted, must yield to it. And where the federal government, in the exercise of its superior authority in this field, has enacted a complete scheme of regulation. States cannot, inconsistently with Congress’s purpose, conflict or interfere with, curtail or complement the federal law, or enforce additional or auxiliary regulations. (Hines v. Davidowitz, 312 U.S. 52 (1941)).
Permissible State Immigration Actions
State and Local Employment Licensing Laws
Federal immigration law expressly allows states and localities to independently regulate illegal aliens’ employment through licensing and similar laws. Its legislative history notes that the statute’s reference to “licensing” includes “lawful state or local processes concerning the suspension, revocation or refusal to reissue a license to any person who has been found to have violated the sanctions provisions” of the federal law, or “licensing or ‘fitness to do business laws,’ such as state farm labor contractor or forestry laws, which specifically require such licensee or contractor to refrain from hiring, recruiting, or referring undocumented workers” (H.R. Rep. 99-682, 1986 USCCAN 5649, 5662).
Enforcing Federal Immigration Laws
It is also generally recognized that states and localities may enforce the criminal provisions of the Immigration and Nationalities Act (8 USC § 1101, et seq.). For example, Section 1252(c) allows state and local law enforcement to arrest and detain aliens illegally in the United States who have prior felony convictions. And under § 287(g) of that law, the U.S. Attorney General is permitted to enter agreements with states and localities to permit their law enforcement officers to perform additional duties relating to immigration law enforcement.
State and local enforcement efforts cannot impose new or additional penalties upon criminal immigration law violators.
Denying Access to Federal Public Benefit Programs
States that administer federal public benefits programs are permitted to follow federal rules for determining and verifying an applicant’s citizenship/alienage status if that is a criterion for eligibility. Connecticut’s attorney general recently ruled that while this rule is applicable to the DHS’s administration of the federal Low Income House Energy Assistance Program, it is inapplicable to the community action agencies to whom the department had delegated its administrative functions. The agencies are not permitted to verify citizenship status (Attorney General Formal Opinion 2007-20).
Denying Access to State Public Benefit Programs
It appears that states can also limit access to state public benefits programs to people who are deemed “qualified aliens” under federal public benefit program laws. But laws and regulations targeting “illegal aliens,” which is not defined in federal law, may be preempted because they require state officials to make independent assessments of the legality of an applicant’s presence in the United States (See generally, Feder and Gentile: Legal Analysis of Proposed City of Hazleton Illegal Immigration Relief Act Ordinance (Congressional Research Service, July 29, 2006)).
So what can Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California do specifically to control illegal immigration through Mexico at their southern borders? Their hands are tied! Basically, it boils down to allowing federal authorities to regulate their borders as federal laws require. States have no say-so over any of those operations. However, once any number of these illegals are released into the general populations in these states, each of those four states has almost sole control of those illegals’ actions according to states’ individual laws. And lawful interdictions must be included in those regulations listed above.
However, we all know the Biden Administration has NO intention of doing this job the right way. Heck, they failed on that the moment Joe Biden signed those NEW immigration executive orders that undid the PREVIOUS Trump orders that had brought the southern border chaos into Border Patrol, ICE, and U.S. Customs under control.
There’s really only one thing that can be done now: Enforce existing immigration laws!
Isn’t it ridiculous that we even have to say that? Every member of Congress, every U.S.-appointed Biden Administration federal worker, and President Biden and VP Harris each took an oath to “defend and protect” the U.S. Constitution and each of its provisions. Not doing so is a violation of their oaths of office.
Biden has NO plan or intention to do that. Even while still in the U.S. Senate, he made no real intent to lead in the amendment of existing immigration laws, some of which are still today claimed to be outrageous, unfair, and egregious. During his eight years as Obama’s Vice President, they should have easily found ways to correct any of those laws that needed correction — especially those two years in which Democrats controlled both the House and the Senate. But they didn’t even try.
What can BE done? Short of changing existing federal immigration laws, deleting others, and/or passing new laws, it’s doubtful that anything else WILL be done. As a matter of fact, Democrats like the current situation. Why? The more illegals that show-up in our nation, the more certain Democrats are that eventually, these illegals will be given U.S. citizenship. Democrats are certain that when that happens, Dems will control those votes. And with those immigrants voting support, there will no longer be a need for a two-party political system.
Democrats will be able to amend the Constitution, eliminate the election system, and permanently control the entire federal government.
So much for “government of, by, and for the People.”