The stand-off between the Biden administration and Texas over securing the border has made national headlines. Exact numbers are disputed, but record-high illegal border crossings have soared since 2021, the year Biden was inaugurated.
According to Newsweek, citing data from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), “In the first 11 months of 2023, at least 2,953,676 migrants crossed either of the United States’ southwestern or northern borders.”
(According to DBP data, the number of aliens entering was 2,069,805 in 2021 and 2,738,145 in 2022. For reference, the population of Roanoke City is about 100,000 and Virginia has 8.7 million.)
“There are 17 states that have smaller populations than the number of migrants who crossed the border into the U.S. this year , per U.S. Census population estimates. The 17 states are: Alaska, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont, West Virginia and Wyoming.”
(Tellingly, Newsweek used the neutral term “migrants” without mentioning their status, thus conflating the very different issues of legal versus illegal immigration.)
Historically, immigration policy and enforcement has been a responsibility of the federal government, and not the states.
However, Texas Governor Greg Abbott in a Jan. 24 letter blasted the Biden administration for failing to do its job and thus states have to step in. “President Biden has violated his oath to faithfully execute immigration laws enacted by Congress. Instead of prosecuting immigrants for the federal crime of illegal entry, President Biden has sent his lawyers into federal courts to sue Texas for taking action to secure the border.”
Moreover, with the unprecedented wave of illegal immigrants, many of whom are military-aged males, crime, and fentanyl deaths, many now claim our country is not just facing a crisis but an actual invasion.
Thus, to justify state involvement in securing our nation’s borders, many point out to what is called “The Guarantee Clause” in the US Constitution, Article IV, Section 4. “The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened) against domestic Violence.”
In a January 29 press release, Attorney General Jason Miyares (R), himself the son of an immigrant who fled communism in Cuba, joined a 27-state coalition supporting Texas border defenses.
“Attorney General Jason Miyares today joined 26 other states in supporting Texas’s border defense in a letter to the Biden Administration.
“Since President Biden took office, more than six million undocumented migrants have crossed the southern border. This unchecked invasion poses a grave threat to national security and fuels the surge in drug and human trafficking. In the face of this unprecedented influx of migrants, the Biden Administration’s actions have worsened the crisis, rather than mitigate it. Border Patrol agents acting on the Biden Administration’s orders cut Texas’s border defense wires more than 20 times in just one month. In one shocking case, they even used a forklift to raise the wire and usher in more than 300 undocumented migrants.
“With the Biden Administration failing to fulfill its responsibility and secure our border, states like Texas have taken decisive action, stepping up to protect their citizens. A federal district court found that Texas’s border defense wires reduced illegal border crossings by more than two-thirds. These barriers protect not just Texans from millions of illegal border crossings, but the rest of the nation as well.
“’The time for action is now. The Biden Administration must either fulfill its duty to enforce the laws that secure our southern border, or states like Texas will use their constitutional authority to address this invasion themselves and protect their citizens,’ said Attorney General Miyares.
“The states demand that the Biden Administration either take immediate action to enforce the laws that secure the southern border or allow states like Texas to protect themselves from the invasion.
“Virginia joined the Iowa and Utah-led letter, along with Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, West Virginia, Wyoming, and the Arizona State Legislature.”
On Jan. 24 Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) signaled his support also, posting on his personal X account, formerly known as Twitter: “Virginia stands with Texas. @GregAbbott_TX is doing the job Joe Biden and his border czar refuse to do to secure our border. The Biden administration has turned every state into a border state. We must stop the flow of fentanyl, save lives, and secure our southern border.”
The stand-off between the Biden administration and 27 states over border security and who can do what has been called by some “the greatest Constitutional crisis in our lifetimes.”