January 31, 2024

Greg Abbott

A clash between Texas and the Biden administration over immigration enforcement showed no signs of easing [last] Wednesday as federal officials renewed demands for the state to give Border Patrol agents access to a riverfront park that is a popular corridor for migrants illegally entering the U.S…

“Texas has installed rows of razor wire in the park and says more is being added after the Supreme Court cleared the way for Border Patrol agents to cut or remove the sharp metal barrier… Texas seized control of the park this month and began denying entry to Border Patrol agents, escalating a feud between Abbott and President Joe Biden’s administration.” AP News

Here’s our previous coverage of the border and the ongoing litigation. The Flip Side

See past issues

From the Left

The left criticizes Abbott, arguing that he is perilously close to defying the Supreme Court.

“It’s important to note that, despite the claims of some on the left, what Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) is doing right now doesn’t violate what the Supreme Court ruled. The court overturned a ruling that said the federal government couldn’t remove the razor wire, effectively allowing it to do so; Abbott has signaled he’ll continue to have the National Guard lay the wire, and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) has rejected the Biden administration’s request for full access to the area…

“Provocative? Yes. Interfering with federal authority? Quite possibly. But directly violating the Supreme Court’s decision? No… But you can also see how we’re getting into dicey territory here. The Supreme Court is the institution we charge with interpreting our Constitution; we now have a sitting U.S. governor and a congressman suggesting it’s okay to ignore what the court says if you have a different interpretation.”

Aaron Blake, Washington Post

“Abbott’s argument that a rush of migrants trying to enter the United States constitutes an ‘invasion,’ moreover, was rejected by no less of an authority than James Madison. In an 1800 document, Madison wrote that ‘invasion is an operation of war ... And as the removal of alien friends has appeared to be no incident to a general state of war, it cannot be incident to a partial state, or a particular modification of war.’…

“Federal courts, moreover, have previously agreed with Madison. As one federal appeals court concluded in a 1996 opinion, ‘[I]n order for a state to be afforded the protections of the Invasion Clause, it must be exposed to armed hostility from another political entity, such as another state or foreign country that is intending to overthrow the state’s government.’ Immigration, even by people who do so illegally, does not constitute ‘armed hostility from another political entity.’

Ian Millhiser, Vox

“The economy is roaring with GDP growth consistently beating expectations, unemployment at multi-decade lows, and inflation fast approaching the Federal Reserve's longstanding target of 2 percent annually. Unable to attack President Joe Biden on his economic record, Republicans absolutely need to cast immigration as a problem only they can solve, or else they'll have nothing to run on…

“Hence, Trump himself is doing everything he can to wreck any chance of a bipartisan immigration deal coming out of the Senate. Abbott is simply carrying water for Trump and his party… Ideally, Abbott will back down after a second loss at the Supreme Court. However, if he presses on thereafter and continues to defy the lawful authority of the federal government, President Biden must then invoke the insurrection act and federalize the Texas national guard.”

Nicholas Creel, Newsweek

From the Right

The right generally supports Abbott and is critical of the Biden administration’s efforts to remove the barriers.

The right generally supports Abbott and is critical of the Biden administration’s efforts to remove the barriers.

“The district court found that [the] ‘wire was so successful that illegal border crossings dropped to less than a third of their previous levels.’ The Biden administration knows this is an effective way of diminishing and deterring illegal border crossings – as Texas pointed out in its brief, the ‘federal government also uses [the same barbed] wire fencing to deter illegal crossings and route migrants to lawful ports of entry.’…

“Yet the district court found that video evidence showed federal agents ‘cutting multiple holes in the concertina wire for no apparent purpose other than to allow migrants easier entrance further inland.’ The video not only showed them cutting holes in the fence, but it also showed them installing a ‘climbing rope’ to make it easier for the aliens to get across the border…

“When Texas officers tried to record what the federal agents were doing, the agents told the Texas law enforcement officers to ‘back the f*** off’ and claimed they were ‘not authorized to take any pictures.’ In other words, the Biden administration was trying to hide what it was doing… The whole reason for the Biden administration’s actions in this case is to make sure federal immigration laws are not enforced.”

Hans von Spakovsky, Fox News

“Can the influx of migrants be considered an invasion?… A group of ten retired FBI executives with more than 250 years of combined experience in the bureau’s intelligence, counterterrorism, and criminal operations divisions believe that the answer is yes. They recently penned a letter to congressional leaders describing the migrant crisis as a ‘new and imminent danger’…

“In modern history, ‘the U.S. has never suffered an invasion of the homeland and, yet, one is unfolding now,’ the ex-FBI officials wrote. ‘Military-aged men from across the globe, many from countries or regions not friendly to the United States are landing in waves on our soil by the thousands—not by splashing ashore from a ship or parachuting from a plane but rather by foot across a border that has been accurately advertised around the world as largely unprotected and with ready access granted.’”

Dave Seminara, City Journal

“Whether Texas is allowed to string barbed wire along this land or whether the federal government takes it down is not of great moment one way or another in the broader border crisis. Yet, Abbott has managed to get the federal government in the position of actually removing physical barriers to illegal immigration at the border and insisting that it is imperative that it be permitted to continue doing so…

“If Donald Trump rides this issue back to the White House, he should be especially grateful to Texas and its tough-minded governor.”

Rich Lowry, National Review

A libertarian's take

“The argument that immigration is ‘invasion’ is badly wrong and has dangerous implications that go far beyond the specific details of the razor wire case… If illegal migration qualifies as an ‘invasion’ at all, it does so all the time, not just when a Democratic president is in office or when there is a spike compared to previous years. Texas' reasoning also implies that the federal government can always suspend the writ of habeas corpus and detain both migrants and US citizens without charges

“Do Gov. Abbott and other Republicans want Joe Biden to be able to claim the power to detain people without charges anytime he wants? That's where their logic leads!… If the framers and ratifiers of the Constitution had expected the invasion provisions of the Constitution to have such radical implications, one would expect them to note it at some point during prolonged debate over ratification. But there is no evidence that they did. The habeas corpus issue, in particular, is one that would have raised hackles in the Founding era, as British abuses of habeas corpus were a major grievance during the American Revolution.”
Ilya Somin, Volokh Conspiracy

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