Texas Showing The Way: States Have Tools To Deter Immigration Influx
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Earlier (June 2023) What Can The States Do At The Border?

American news, social media, and the political class have been ablaze for weeks with the continually developing story of Texas’ Governor Greg Abbott’s stand against the Federal government in Eagle Pass. But this is just the beginning. Americans are well aware of the far-reaching powers of the Federal government. Many, however, don’t realize just how powerful state governments really are—if they decide to act.

The story in Texas began with the Biden administration’s treasonous refusal to actually secure the border. In response, the state government’s aptly named Operation Lone Star, originally only a support mission to assist the Department of Homeland Security in its purported goal to secure the U.S. frontier with Mexico, evolved into a standalone operation to secure the Texan border with Mexico.

After the Texas Department of Public Safety took control of a park in the city [Texas officers take “full control” of Eagle Pass park against city’s wishes, Texas Tribune, January 11, 2024] the number of illegal migrant crossings in the Eagle Pass region has declined from some 2,400 illegals a day to just 750 per day [Texas authorities arrest group of 10 migrants at southern border, video shows, ABC7 Chicago, January 21, 2024]. Additionally, most of those illegals that do make it across are arrested by the Texas Department of Public Safety, and many are subsequently pushed back over the border into Mexico. Texas claims to have returned more than 80,000 illegal immigrants to Mexico, and arrested tens of thousands more for various crimes including drug trafficking [Operation Lone Star Ramps Up Historic Response To Biden’s Border Crisis, gov.texas.gov, January 5, 2024]. The operation has been an unmitigated success, and as a result the Federal government has continually sought to interfere with Texas’ constitutional right to defend its inherent sovereignty.

As Texas put up more barriers and barred the Federal agents from accessing a public park, both the state and the Federal government made emergency appeals to the nation’s highest court. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 vote to allow the Department of Homeland Security to cut the razor wire fencing installed by the State of Texas along the border with Mexico [Supreme Court allows Border Patrol agents to remove razor wire Texas installed at Mexico border, by Lawrence Hurley, NBCNews, January 22, 2024].

In spite of this, Governor Abbott has announced construction of Forward Operating Base, a (National Guard) military base costing $131 million in the Del Rio Sector [Texas Takes Bold Stand: New Military Base to Secure the Border, The Conservative Fix, February 19, 2024]

"Conservative" Justices Amy Coney Barrett and John Roberts (the chief Justice) voted against Texas. Barrett is a Trump- appointed Justice, while Roberts was appointed in ’05 by then President G.W. Bush. Note that, contrary to a widespread misapprehension, this was an emergency order. The full case has yet to be heard. But it was nonetheless remarkable that the Supreme Court continues to legislate from the bench, making political decisions for the entire country while putting off, perhaps for more than a year, hearing the full case.

States have many other powers that could be used to combat the immigration disaster. They administer welfare programs such as unemployment; they determine the licensing for professions; the vast bulk of court proceedings happen in state courts; state legislatures pass tens of thousands of bills each year, compared to a few hundred by the U.S. Congress; and state executive agencies are the common point of citizen contact with government.

For this reason it is relatively simple to put together a shortlist of policy actions that state lawmakers should be taking to curtail immigration as much as possible—since the Biden Regime clearly refuses to act in the best interest of the American people. Governors have a duty to step up and take action where the White House will not, and increasingly they are doing so: hundreds of troops from a great many states have been pledged to support the Texan operation at the border [Indiana sends National Guard to southern border at Texas’s request, by Lauren Irwin, The Hill, February 9, 2024]. There are a great many reasons to see hope, despite orchestrated suppression of news about the border disaster by the Regime Media.

As for other policy options—and many may be surprised to hear this, considering how free and easy travel between American states has been—governors have the power to protect their states through the closure of borders! This power has been upheld twice, first in Jacobsen v. Massachusetts, and for a second time in Zemel v. Rusk. No states enacted hard border closures during the COVID-19 pandemic, but this power was always available to them. Tribal governments, however, did take advantage of this recognized power, and several of them completely closed their borders to nonresidents for the duration of the crisis, stopping cars, turning around nonresidents, and refusing to expose their populations to danger [Native American tribal nations take tougher line on COVID-19 as states reopen, by James Bikales, The Hill, June 21, 2020].

Governors serious about protecting their states should invoke the specter of COVID, dengue, hemorrhagic fever, and the plethora of serious and deadly diseases present in Central and South America, as recognized by the CDC. Borders could be closed using any excuse available, ranging from health concerns, to concerns about environmental harm, declarations of emergency, disaster, or whatever it takes. Let the courts spend time adjudicating these actions while governors busy themselves protecting their residents.

Another step would be for states to require that the E-verify system be mandatory for every employer, public or private, within their borders. Currently just nine states, the entire Deep South plus Arizona and Utah, require that E-verify checks be carried out by all employers both public and private, thus preventing illegal workers from accessing most levels of employment. There has been some progress in this arena as well, as Florida now requires employers with more than 25 employees to use the E-Verify system [New Florida Immigration Law and E-Verify Requirements for Employers, by Federico M. Maciá, CarltonFields.com, June 29, 2023].

The next necessary state policy change takes aim at the Reagan Amnesty, the 1986 IRCA. This act contains a provision which makes it near impossible for prosecutors and Federal officials to take businesses to court that employ illegal immigrants (see Indiscriminate Anti-Discrimination Enforcement: Why Is It Illegal To Check For Illegals?, VDARE.com, 2003). This section (Section B) should and must be replaced, but the Federal government is clearly unwilling to do so.

That does not, however, mean that state governments cannot act. A 2011 Supreme Court Ruling permitted an Arizona law which punishes businessowners for hiring illegal aliens by revoking their business licenses. For more than a decade Arizona has been the only state with such a policy, but that is now changing! The Republican-controlled state government of Iowa is now proceeding with a bill to enable the state to revoke the operating and business licenses of any business which does not utilize the E-verify system, and thus prevent illegals from working in the state [Bill would require use of ‘E-Verify’ to check workers’ immigration status, by Robin Opsahl, Iowa Capital Dispatch, January 24, 2024].

And finally, to deal with the high levels of legal immigration pro-America state lawmakers and governors will want to follow the example of Louisiana and ban foreigners from buying, renting, and leasing properties. In HB 537, which was signed into law in 2023, the state of Louisiana banned ”foreign adversaries" from buying, renting or leasing land within 50 miles of a military installation within the state. Florida has also passed similar legislation which bans the buying or leasing of property buy “foreign adversaries” within 10 miles of its critical infrastructure [Bill that would bar ‘foreign principals’ from China from buying land in Florida approved., by Mitch Perry, Florida Phoenix, May 5, 2023].

There is no reason that these bans could not be extended to cover all/nearly all of a state’s land area. There is also no apparent impediment to expanding the list of banned foreign citizens from buying land, states could ban subcontinental Indians, Haitians, Mexicans, and many more foreign legal immigrants from buying or renting land.

This would, in effect, ban legal immigrants from being able to take up residence in a state and could serve as a powerful mechanism to protect the demographic make-up of a community and region.

Last year saw significant increases in the confidence of state governments, particularly Republican ones, in attempting to stave off the radical demographic change sweeping much of the United States.

State governments can continue to act—and they must.

James Karlsson (email him) is the founder and director of the White-Papers Policy Institute. Read them on Substack, follow them on Twitter, and message them on Telegram.

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