Can Texas’ Efforts to Enforce the Border Keep Pace with Biden’s Efforts to Sabotage Enforcement?
In his latest attempt at immigration enforcement, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has ordered National Guard troops and state police to detain and return illegal aliens to the border.
“Texas is using every tool and strategy possible to do the federal government’s job of securing the border,” Abbott tweeted on Friday. Yet these tactics are overwhelmed daily by the Biden administration’s ongoing, unprecedented releases of illegal aliens into the U.S.
“The official policy of Biden’s Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is to ensure that every alien who can make it to U.S. soil — legally, illegally, fraudulently, or otherwise — has a ‘safe, orderly, and legal pathway’ to apply for asylum,” notes Andrew Arthur of the Center for Immigration Studies.
That safe pathway has occasional speed bumps in Texas, thanks to more than $4 billion the state is spending on its border mission. But in the end — even when state authorities hand-deliver illegal aliens to the U.S. Border Patrol — migrants are not being removed.
Exploring the legal and logistical conundrums, a recent article in the Federalist observed, “So far nothing Abbott has done has changed the fundamental dynamics at the border.” Ken Cuccinelli, a former DHS deputy secretary, agrees, calling Texas’ catch and return program an adjunct to Biden’s catch and release.
For this, a Washington Post editorial risibly brands Abbott’s activities “extreme,” when the only extreme action is the Biden administration’s blatant disregard for the law.
In fact, Abbott is simply playing the cards he’s been dealt, and those cards give states very limited options when it comes to enforcing federal immigration law. Modest as they may be, Abbott’s actions are calling more attention to the border crisis, which, in turn, raises a legitimate question: Is what’s happening now an actual “invasion”?
Multiple South Texas counties formally declared an invasion this month. Urging the governor to play this new card, they cite Article I, Section 10, Clause 3 of the U.S. Constitution, which says states can’t conduct foreign policy or engage in war, “unless actually invaded, or in such imminent danger as will not admit delay.”
Abbott has yet to follow suit, leaning instead on his Texas two-step: deferring to Washington operationally while continuing to challenge Biden & Co. in court. Skeptics in and out of Texas want the governor to step up the pace. “Whatever legal stratagems he has in mind might well be too little, too late,” the Federalist concludes.