Biden/Abbott feud makes no sense … but raises serious constitutional issues
Politics and public policy are not founded on common sense – or even the clarity of language. We see that playing out in the border feud between President Biden and Texas Governor Greg Abbott.
If common sense applied, Biden and Abbott would be working together to end the massive illegal crossing of the southern border by folks from more than 40 nations – including adversarial nations. It would seem that they both would have an interest and an official obligation to stop the crisis being caused by the tsunami of migrants entering America. It should not be a difficult problem to resolve – if you really wanted to resolve it.
It makes no sense that the governor of Texas – a state heavily impacted by the unfettered flow of migrants – should be feuding with the federal government because it is doing virtually nothing to stop the flow. Even worse, the Biden administration is doing everything possible to prevent the Abbott from taking action to stop or reduce the number of illegal border crossings. In fact, Biden and the Democrats seem to be resisting efforts to stem the human tide at the border.
That makes no sense – common or otherwise. But it is consistent with Biden’s and the Democrats open door policy. They not only show no interest in ebbing the flow of illegal migrants, but are actually encouraging them to cross the border by (1) not stopping them – signaling the border is open, (2) establishing so-called sanctuary communities in which local authorities thwart federal law with impunity, (3) refuse to cooperate with Immigrant and Customs Enforcement (ICE) efforts to round up and deport illegal aliens – including criminals (and moves to actually defund ICE), and (4) offering a range of benefits – housing, schooling, healthcare, welfare, driver’s licenses and voting rights – at an enormous costs to local, state and federal taxpayers.
Biden & Co. have immigration proposals they say will alleviate the crisis at the border, but there is a catch. Democrat plans focus on funding more judges and support staff to FACILITATE the matriculation off illegal border crossers into America on a permanent basis – even though some 85 percent of those crossing are not eligible for asylum.
Democrats also want to send billions – possibly trillions — of dollars in foreign aid to a number of nations in which the economy or the culture is driving people out. In other words, America should solve their internal problems of other countries as a means of reducing the number of illegal border crossers without addressing our problem – an open border.
Of course, that will never work. To think we can address the economic and social problems of dozens of nations with American taxpayer money is … ridiculous. Unless you do not sincerely want to address the problem. Then you wave that proposal as a distraction from doing the real job.
Biden’s and the Democrats’ plans show little interest in actually securing the border or stopping the flow. That is why Congress has not been able to pass immigration legislation. Republicans want security and the focus of legislation to first be on enforcement of the border to PREVENT illegal border crossers … period.
And that is what Abbott wants to do. BUT … Biden says that handling the border is exclusively the constitutional responsibility of the federal government – even if Biden and the federal government are not obeying the constitutional requirement to secure the border.
The Biden position is irrational. He claims that only the federal government has the CONSTITUTIONAL POWER to defend the border even as he refuses to use his CONSTITUTIONAL RESPONSIBILITY to … enforce federal immigration laws and defend the border.
Abbott has called out Biden in a statement. He said, “The Executive Branch of the United States has a constitutional duty to enforce federal laws protecting States, including immigration laws on the books right now. President Biden has refused to enforce those laws and has even violated them.” Abbott is relying on a state’s “right to self-defense,” which he claims supersedes federal laws.
You know what that means. The Supreme Court is going to have to step into the immigration controversy to provide a constitutional standard. It will not be the first time. Back in 1876 – in Chy Lung v. Freeman – the high Court declared that states cannot determine the qualifications for the admission of foreign nationals. In Arizona v. United States in 2012, the Court ruled that federal law pre-empted Arizona immigration laws.
In a recent emergency decision, the Supreme Court – in a five to four decision – enabled the federal government to remove barriers that Texas had installed to ebb the flow of illegal border crossers. It is no small irony that the Biden administration was exerting it constitutional right to manage the admission of foreign nationals even as it is refusing to do so.
All three of those Court decisions were based on the power to establish qualifications for admission. The Biden/Abbott feud is not over qualification. That is already established in federal law. It is all about enforcing the federal law. The question is: Can a state enforce a federal law if the federal Department of Justice and other federal agencies refuse to do so? Can the federal government refuse to enforce federal law when local communities violate it with sanctuary laws and refusal to cooperate with ICE? And can the federal government order ICE to not enforce federal law. And there are other questions to be resolved.
There is another issue that will need a Supreme Court clarification. And that is the right of private owners to protect their property. Can migrants be arrested for trespassing? Can owners of private property forcible removed migrants– even at gun point. The Abbott administration is already promising to provide free razor wire to private property owners. Can the feds remove that, too.
Abbott’s position is not an effort to nullify federal law, as some contend, but to push back against the federal government essentially nullifying its own laws.
It is possible that the Supreme Court will decide in Biden’s favor in terms of which sovereign has the power over the border based on earlier interpretation and court cases, but it would require the Court to totally ignore a situation in which a President is disregarding the constitutional mandate to protect the border. What do you do when a President goes rogue on his responsibility – and oath to uphold the Constitution? (I know there will be hair-burning reaction from the whataboutism-Trump crowd. But this is NOT about Trump. It is about Biden, Abbott, the Supreme Court, the Constitution, defending the border and common sense. Stay on subject.)
Regardless of the interpretations of the Constitution, the optics of federal officers cutting and removing barriers (pictured above) that are holding back illegal border crossers in the middle of a massive crisis is not good for Biden administration – especially in an election year. It makes it difficult … no impossible … to contend that Biden does not have an open border policy in defiance of the Constitution and the law.
There is a simple solution. Obey the law and close the border from illegal crossings. And Biden is doing neither.
So, there ‘tis.