Here’s an unpopular view from the right, but one that needs to be reiterated given the gravity of the border invasion. A border wall is a red herring. It is no longer the primary tool we need to demagnetize our border. And Joe Biden’s sudden embrace of “border barriers” should be a gigantic red flag that something is amiss.
We don’t have an immigration problem in the sense of a flow of migration similar to a natural disaster that requires barriers and levies to stop a flood. We have a lawfare problem. In this case, our own government has invited illegal aliens into the country en masse and then, contrary to our laws, offers them work and benefits while preventing states from maintaining order.
If we simply made illegal immigration illegal, the invaders simply would not come. If anyone caught were deported, and if they were ineligible for work, school, or public benefits, they simply would not make the trip. They are responding to an open invitation, incentives, and an understanding that Republican state officials, despite their rhetoric, still want cheap labor.
But if we continue to wink and nod and allow wealthy interests of both parties to quietly allow illegal aliens to live here openly and without consequence, they will continue to come even with a border wall.
It’s a little-known fact that the border wall isn’t actually on the border. Depending on geography, the wall may be several feet or several miles into U.S. territory. The Biden administration’s policy is to actually bring in illegal aliens from behind the wall once they’ve touched American soil. By the way, this was also the Trump administration’s policy, thanks to guidance from government lawyers. Knowing that, the border wall becomes a distraction.
And that is precisely why the Biden administration is now pretending to build one.
So ignore the phony comparisons of Biden to his archnemesis Donald Trump. Biden is fastidiously navigating legal barriers to construct physical barriers not to relieve pressure at the border but to relieve the public and political pressures on his border policy.
Biden even cleverly elicited faux outrage from Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador in response to the Department of Homeland Security’s decision to commence construction. This way Biden can appear to concede a big issue to Trump while ensuring illegal aliens enter the country anyway — whether from behind the wall, at ports of entry, or through airports, as he is currently doing with the CBP One app.
This is why, ultimately, the immigration crisis will not be solved with more federal dollars, resources, cameras, border agents, or barriers. The federal government is the problem.
As such, the task falls to the states to make illegal immigration illegal again, as novel as that may sound. The effects of illegal immigration are now greater in America’s large cities, or even in places like Colony Ridge, Texas, than at the border itself. It’s time for states to begin cutting off all benefits, passing Florida’s interior enforcement law, and setting up a challenge to Plyler v. Doe, the 1982 U.S. Supreme Court decision that struck down a Texas law barring “the use of state funds for the education of children who had not been legally admitted to the U.S.” That decision has done untold damage to the body politic and American sovereignty.
The crisis will not be resolved unless and until states have the ability to remove illegal aliens en masse. To the extent we will ever uproot the millions of invaders foisted upon us over the past few years, it will take multiple states to cooperate with such an operation. But with millions infiltrating our cities every year, state and local enforcement is the only solution now. A wall does nothing about the people who are already here.
Obviously, the left will battle all such efforts in court. Those opposing these efforts will point to the 2012 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Arizona v. the United States, which stated that most state enforcement was pre-empted by federal law. But this is a fight we should embrace. Let’s see if the court’s majority now agrees with Justice Antonin Scalia’s partial dissent in that case, in which he argued, “The naturalization power was given to Congress not to abrogate States’ power to exclude those they did not want, but to vindicate it.”
Everyone agrees that states cannot offer their own visa or naturalization process. But they do have the right to defend their borders from invasion. “The Constitution recognizes that there is such a thing as State borders and the States can police their borders, even to the point of inspecting incoming shipments to exclude diseased material,” Scalia wrote. With so many of the justices in the Arizona case now off the court, it’s worth relitigating the outcome.
Moreover, Congress should clarify the law today so that states can act unmolested by the lawfare. As Florida Governor Ron DeSantis recently told my colleague Glenn Beck, states are a “force multiplier for the federal government” and should “absolutely” be able to enforce immigration law. He promised as president to work “hand in hand with the states” to deport illegal aliens. DeSantis also noted that, despite legal challenges, Texas should try right now to move illegal aliens back to Mexico.
Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) has introduced a bill that would explicitly empower border states to build their own barriers. It would also abrogate the Supreme Court’s Arizona decision and vest all states with the legal authority to prosecute and deport illegal aliens.
Also, given the fact that even blue-city and state officials are groaning under the effects of the invasion, Republicans would do well to expend political capital in the budget fight over Hawley’s state enforcement bill rather than a border wall. Biden is more than happy to build the wall in a way that advances his agenda. He can point to his barricades with one hand while continuing to invite in illegal aliens with the other. They’ll just come through a different doorway.
It’s not that we have no use for a longer, more effective border wall. We still have threats from terrorists, other criminals, and drug traffickers that a wall would help stop in conjunction with a Border Patrol working for a future president who respects our sovereignty. Most of the problem with the cartels, however, is the result of mass migration that both empowers them financially and allows them to bring in more drugs through strategically orchestrated distractions and the use of migrants as drug mules. If we demagnetize the border, the drug and security problems would be much easier to handle.
And the only way to demagnetize the border at this point is to put the states in the driver’s seat.