White House Sets Border Fire, Sues States for Trying to Put it Out

Commentary

July 11, 2024

By Brian Lonergan

By now it is widely accepted that the current occupants of the White House have purposely turned our southern border into a lawless zone, the effects of which have spread to the rest of the country. There is simply no way destruction on this scale could happen due to mere incompetence or coincidence.

That it has happened is bad enough. Even in the best-case scenario, it will take our nation many years to return to the level of safety and security it enjoyed just a short time ago. What many Americans do not know is that the same members of our ruling class who created this immigration mess are using the powers of federal government to prevent states from doing anything to help clean it up.

In response to a lawsuit filed by the Biden Administration, a federal judge recently blocked an Oklahoma law that would make illegal immigration a state crime. The law would allow Sooner State law enforcement to arrest people for entering the United States illegally. If convicted, illegal aliens would be guilty of “impermissible occupation” and could be punished with up to a year in jail and a $500 fine.

An alien found guilty of violating the law would also be required to leave the state within 72 hours “following his or her conviction or release from custody, whichever comes later.” A second offense, upgraded to a felony, would allow the illegal immigrant to be held for two years in jail and fined up to $1,000.

Fed up with a federal government that not only allows, but encourages an endless flow of aliens into their states, a growing number of governors and state legislatures are passing laws allowing state law enforcement to arrest those here illegally. Texas, the epicenter of the border invasion, led the way with passage of the Texas Senate Bill 4—which, like Oklahoma’s law, allows state police to serve as de facto immigration agents— as part of Governor Greg Abbott’s aggressive response to Washington’s malfeasance.

In April, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds signed a law which makes illegal reentry into the United States a state crime, and provides that aliens found guilty of that crime may avoid jail time by agreeing to be taken out of the country by Iowa officials. The Louisiana legislature just passed a similar bill in May.

What many Americans do not know is that the same members of our ruling class who created this immigration mess are using the powers of federal government to prevent states from doing anything to help clean it up.

What do these legislative actions against illegal migration by Oklahoma, Texas, and Iowa all have in common? They are all being held up by lawsuits filed by the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington designed to block them.

The current, temporary custodians of the executive branch are akin to landlords who took over a safe, secure apartment building and have let it become dangerous and crime infested. When the tenants take it upon themselves to clean up the place and get rid of lawbreakers who don’t belong there, the landlord files a lawsuit to stop them. It’s that ridiculous.  

The anti-borders activists running White House immigration policy are twisting themselves into pretzels to make coherent arguments in these cases. When the Trump Administration tried to clamp down on sanctuary cities for promoting lawlessness, the movement fought against the idea that the supremacy clause of the Constitution gave the federal government authority over immigration enforcement.

Now that the inmates are running the proverbial asylum in Washington, they argue that the very laws they refuse to enforce preempt any state’s efforts to achieve the immigration enforcement goals Congress set. To be clear, these state laws do not appear to conflict with the stated purposes and goals of federal immigration law, but rather to advance them. How ironic that the federal government charged with protecting the nation’s borders has not only abdicated that responsibility but is aggressively cracking down on any state trying to take it on in the absence of federal enforcement. As the younger generation says, that math ain’t mathin’.

The immigration issue is about a lot more than just our nation’s safety and sovereignty. If the Justice Department is successful in blocking these attempts by states to enforce immigration laws, then Americans may be stripped of a last line of defense against the current administration’s mission to make the United States more crowded, balkanized, dangerous, and destitute. It may also signal the end of federalism, to be replaced by a unitary government where power is wielded exclusively by a small group of detached elites in a faraway capital. America was founded to be the antidote to this, not to become it.  

Brian Lonergan is director of communications at the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI) in Washington, D.C, and co-host of IRLI’s “No Border, No Country” podcast.

Also published at Chronicles, July 11, 2024.

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