Texas Gov. Greg Abbott speaks during a news conference at the Texas State Capitol in Austin, Texas, on June 8, 2023. (Brandon Bell/Getty Images)
When is it incumbent upon the states to defy federal edicts and take the unlawful immigration crisis into their own hands? If a federal agency such as the Department of Homeland Security fails to enforce enacted immigration laws and inadequately funds the Border Patrol, then victimized states have the duty to protect their citizens from a lawless incursion at the southern border. Additional legislation is unnecessary to enforce existing immigration laws.
That is exactly what Texas Governor Greg Abbott has implemented due to the Biden administration’s dereliction of duty. Mr. Abbott has helped to beef up portions of the Mexico-Texas border in order to mitigate the surge of unvetted illegal migrants into Texas. At least 25 other governors have supported Mr. Abbott’s actions, and several have deployed National Guard troops to assist with enforcement.
Now that Texas is becoming more difficult to enter through the southern border, a substantial percentage of migrants have shifted west and are striving to enter the U.S. via Arizona, California, and New Mexico. If the governors of those states truly want to reduce a clear and present danger and keep their residents safe, they should follow the bold lead of Gov. Abbott.
First, these three borders must be bolstered with effective barriers to unfettered entry by migrants. The governors should utilize National Guard troops to assist the Border Patrol and use digital surveillance to monitor the border. At the same time, monitoring our coastlines and the border with Canada could also be ramped up.
Border Patrol agents monitor border crossings in Jacumba, Calif., on Jan. 10, 2024. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)
The role of the Border Patrol is to deter unlawful entry, not to process migrants who have slipped into the country. That’s in the wheelhouse of immigration officers and the courts. However, when the Border Patrol encounters a migrant, of course they can identify whether their asylum claims are fraudulent or genuine based on a migrant’s papers. Too many migrants game the system with bad intentions and pretend they are victims.
Next, every migrant who attempts an unlawful entry should be identified and placed in a data bank in order to reduce the revolving door of multiple entry attempts by the same individuals. Gov. Gavin Newsom and the other governors could halt the policy of catch-and-release into the country and also discourage the funding of sanctuary cities in Democrat-led states. This could promote economic growth.
Third, billions in taxpayer dollars could be saved by expeditiously deporting any detained migrant that lacks an ID and valid documents. There would be no need to transport countless migrants to their choice of American cities, and social services wouldn’t have to be diverted from citizens and legal immigrants toward opportunistic, lawless migrants.
Fourth, a wise border policy would disallow chain migration, military-age males from adversarial regimes, and unaccompanied minors from entering the country. This would help to erode the clout of the ruthless drug and human trafficking cartels that control parts of the border. It would also exert pressure on Mexico to pull its own weight in stemming the flow of unlawful migration.
Fifth, Democrats such as Mr. Newsom often muddy the waters by conflating legal and unlawful immigration and claim to favor “comprehensive immigration reform.” However, this is primarily a delaying tactic for endless dystopian debates that fail to actually secure the border or expedite legal immigration.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks in Los Angeles on Jan. 3, 2024. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)
The best method to reform immigration is to halt unlawful migration and take care of citizens and immigrants who respect ordered liberty. Moreover, border security ought to have a clean, separate appropriations package that takes precedence over blank-check military aid to Ukraine.
Sixth, if an individual wants to immigrate to the United States, they must adhere to a paperwork process in their country of origin first, and then allow the process to unfold. If they are approved with a visa, they can arrive at an entry point (airport, border, coastal port) for further vetting. A legal immigrant can someday apply for permanent residency if all the dots are connected, and the pathway to citizenship ought to be reserved only for lawful immigrants.
Seventh, America urgently needs to aim for zero illegal immigrants entering each month instead of processing a few hundred or a few thousand each month. Why? So that states can process immigrants who have already been identified and start tracking down the “gotaways” with every means at the disposal of law enforcement at all governmental levels.
Finally, unlawful migration is currently exhausting tax-funded resources in several states, generating crime and homelessness, and it’s a harsh slap in the face toward law-abiding citizens and respectful legal immigrants. Are you paying attention, Governors Michelle Grisham of New Mexico, Katie Hobbs of Arizona, and Mr. Newsom of California? An open-border policy also corrodes the foundational principles of responsible liberty, the rule of law and national sovereignty. A nation cannot survive indefinitely if it lacks operational control of its borders.
The Biden administration must secure the border, because it’s the right policy for the American people, not due to bipartisan blowback or for expedient election purposes. The cost savings could be directed toward addressing economic challenges and further strengthen broader national security threat management.