Posted on January 25, 2024

The Eyes of Texas Are Upon You

Gregory Hood, American Renaissance, January 25, 2024

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Nothing ever happens. Occasionally, there are opportunities for right-of-center political leaders to do something important. They never do. They can have public opinion on their side, the law on their side, and institutional power on their side. It doesn’t matter. They don’t act, the moment passes by, and history remembers them as villains anyway.

At least, it usually seems like that’s the way things go. Until recently, Texas Governor Greg Abbott was on the way to being just another footnote in the history of the West’s long defeat. In November 2022, Texas declared mass immigration to be an “invasion,” providing a justification to use the National Guard. Texas also began shipping illegal immigrants to other states and localities, especially sanctuary cities like New York City and Chicago. While this changed the immigration debate significantly, it didn’t actually stop mass immigration.

The Biden Administration, with 535 executive actions on immigration, has dramatically accelerated population replacement. Since President Biden took office, there have been 6.3 million border encounters along the southern border and 2.4 million migrants allowed into the country. The foreign-born population reportedly reached 15 percent of the total population last year.

While the number of people hitting the southern border has surged, the Border Patrol’s resources have remained the same, and morale is plummeting while overworked agents serve as glorified chauffeurs for migrants invading the United States. There is a backlog of more than three million “asylum” cases for migrants, who often enjoy free resources and legal aid provided by federally funded “Non-Governmental Organizations.” It’s difficult to avoid the conclusion that the Administration is deliberately overloading the system to break it entirely, leading to an effective end of all immigration law enforcement.

Texas set up defenses along the border to help stem the flow, but the Biden Administration ordered the Border Patrol to cut the razor wire and ensure more migrants could come. Texas sued, but the Supreme Court ruled that the federal government has the right to cut the razor wire. Chief Justice John Roberts, along with the four women on the Supreme Court, sided with the federal government. This is a useful corrective to those who think there is a “conservative” Supreme Court that will defend constitutional norms. Chief Justice John Roberts (who memorably saved Obamacare) is likely concerned about the Court’s legitimacy among liberals, while Justice Amy Coney Barrett (who touted her adopted black children during her confirmation hearings) confirmed right-wingers’ suspicions about her toughness.

It’s strangely appropriate that the case is Department of Homeland Security v. Texas, because no one really believes the DHS is trying to secure the homeland. Indeed, the DHS is claiming authority to destroy border defenses to ensure mass immigration continues. However, the law being what it is, that is not the technical issue the Supreme Court was considering. “Under the Supremacy Clause, state law cannot be applied to restrain those federal agents from carrying out their federally authorized activities,” argued DHS. “Texas cannot use state tort law to restrain federal Border Patrol agents carrying out their federal duties.”

DHS argued that the barriers prevent Border Patrol agents from saving the lives of migrants who endanger themselves. Of course, the reason the migrants are there in the first place is because they know if they can simply present themselves to the Border Patrol, they can apply for amnesty and be released into the country effectively indefinitely. That is what’s leading them to put themselves and their children in danger. The federal government is arguing that because only the federal government can enforce immigration law, the state cannot enforce it, even if the federal government refuses to enforce it. However, this decision simply said the Border Patrol could cut the razor wire; it is not a final settlement of the case. The main legal issues have yet to be resolved.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott has dramatically increased the stakes by charging that “the federal government has broken the compact between the United States and the States.” He argued that President Biden has refused to enforce immigration laws and “smashed records for illegal immigration.” “Under President Biden’s lawless border policies, more than 6 million illegal immigrants have crossed our southern border in just 3 years,” he said. “That is more than the population of 33 different States in this country.”

Accusing the President of violating his oath of office, the governor said that “the States should not be left to the mercy of a lawless president who does nothing to stop external threats like cartels smuggling millions of illegal immigrants across the border.” According to the Constitution, the federal government has the responsibility to protect each state against invasion. Furthermore, Article I, Section 10 says states may keep troops if “actually invaded, or in such imminent Danger as will not admit of delay.” Governor Abbott cited Justice Antonin Scalia’s dissent in Arizona v. United States, which supposedly identified “the States’ sovereign interest in protecting their borders.” Of course, the state lost this case. Nonetheless, Governor Abbott says that he has the “supreme law of the land” on his side.

That section of the Constitution also forbids states from entering into compacts with each other, unless of course there is an invasion declared. Governor Abbott has already done so. Thus, other states could presumably step forward to support Texas. They have begun doing so. As of this writing, the governors of 25 states have expressed support.

Congressmen Joaquin Castro and Greg Casar, both from Texas, both non-whites, have called on President Biden to federalize the Texas National Guard.

It’s unclear whether this could cause a constitutional crisis, but the optics are not great for the White House in an election year. It would be the federal government using draconian measures to accelerate mass immigration. Such a move could potentially put immigration at the center of the campaign, when the President would much rather be talking about abortion. The Border Patrol Union is also backing Texas. While this is unlikely, if Texas National Guard soldiers or federal soldiers refused orders to keep admitting more migrants, that would be a constitutional crisis that would probably lead to a humiliating retreat for the White House. That is also probably the furthest it could possibly go.

No, this will not be a “Civil War” or anything close to it unless someone on the ground wildly miscalculates by firing on the Texas National Guard. The most forceful thing we can realistically expect from the White House is that it will federalize the Guard. Governor Greg Abbott is hardly a militant on the immigration issue, and many of the governors who are supporting him (notably Governor Cox) are even more moderate. However, the fact they feel able to do this is highly encouraging. This battle is about optics, not about policy. The Supreme Court has yet to definitively rule on the issue and that will change the battlefield again.

While some Democrats want President Biden to federalize the Guard, Speaker of the House Mike Johnson is backing Texas.

Donald Trump weighed in on the conflict only today:

Even Nikki Haley took a break from talking about Israel and Ukraine to pretend to care about America:

We couldn’t hope for a better start to the election-year campaign.