For the last couple of days, we’ve been following Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s attempt to stop contractors hired by the federal government from transporting “noncitizens” (illegals) from the border to other parts of Texas, where those infected with COVID-19 can spread it throughout the state and beyond. The case was presented on Monday before the U.S. District Court in El Paso, and the feds won this round, obtaining a temporary restraining order against Abbott. LEGAL INSURRECTION has a very good analysis of what took place, by William A. Jacobson.
Gov. Abbott had signed Executive Order GA-37 to minimize the “potentially catastrophic effect on public health in Texas” caused by the confluence of the migrant crisis and the pandemic. Texas was facing two surges at the same time: a COVID-19 surge and an illegal immigration surge, and he had to do something to protect the citizens of his state. There is precedent for his standing up to the federal government in such a situation, in the case of Jacobson v. Commonwealth of Massachusetts: “Upon the principle of self-defense, of paramount necessity, a community has the right to protect itself against an epidemic of disease which threatens the safety of its members.”
But the DOJ sued, claiming the Texas order infringed on federal control of immigration. Here are the details, also from William Jacobson, including the full texts of the order from Gov. Abbott, AG Garland’s complaint, and a letter sent by Abbott in response, helpfully suggesting some actions the Biden administration could take to avoid a “constitutional showdown.” But such a showdown seems to be exactly what they want.
One of those suggestions was to “simply enforce the existing federal immigration laws and stop admitting migrants who are not authorized by Congress to be admitted. That would substantially reduce the importation of COVID-19 while also fulfilling the government’s role to faithfully execute the laws of the United States.” Seems simple enough. Of course, we know that this is not President Biden’s goal at all, or he would do it.
“How much does the Biden administration love the illegal migration taking place at the southern border?” Jacobson asks. “Biden has encouraged people to come here illegally, and to send their children here illegally in dangerous conditions, by offering a de facto sanctuary nation. So important is protecting this migration to the Biden administration that it trumps the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.”
With that last sentence, Jacobson nails the reason for this whole mess: twisted, toxic politics. We see quite clearly what this administration's actual priorities are, and it’s infuriating. We’ve done our part for a year and a half with the masks and distancing and social isolation and kids at home and business-crushing lockdowns and now shots, only to see that those in charge, in the end, care nothing for our safety. That’s a strong statement, I know, but it’s obviously much more important to them to bus in illegal immigrants by the hundreds of thousands from a part of the world where the virus is rampant. Come on in, healthy or sick, the Biden administration tells its new “noncitizens”; Biden and his Justice Department want you here so much that they’re willing to let you spread the virus from sea to shining sea if you happen to be infected. They just know you’ll vote Democrat, and they want you to keep pouring in till the country is solid blue.
Jacobson finds the federal government’s argument presented Monday to be without merit. The U.S. government, he says, “seeks to judicially nullify GA-37 through a blunderbuss and sweeping application of preemption and intergovernmental immunity.”
[From Oxford Dictionaries –- blun-der-buss (noun) an action or way of doing something regarded as lacking in subtlety and precision: “economists resort too quickly to the blunderbuss of regulation”]
So Attorney General Merrick Garland is using a big ol' blunderbuss to keep Gov. Abbott from protecting the people of his state from the rampant spread of COVID-19. And so far, it’s working. A DOJ lawyer argued that Abbott’s order would disrupt a network of government-paid contractors transporting migrants and cause a backup --- “chaos.” You know what’s already causing chaos? Biden’s border policy.
The next step now is for Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton to file responsive papers, in which he’ll acknowledge that, yes, the feds control immigration but will then argue that their non-enforcement of federal law is creating a health crisis in Texas. This is not an attempt to regulate immigration but to regulate public health during a pandemic. Also, the reasoning goes, there is no infringement on federal immigration because Texas isn’t deporting people. To put it another way, they’re just “stopping the spread,” as we can’t stop the spread of COVID without stopping the spread of migrants who carry it.
In a statement on July 30, Paxton accused the Biden administration of abandoning its duty to safeguard the border and vowed to protect Gov. Abbott’s executive order in court. He says he and the governor “will work together to keep President Biden out of Texas’ business.” We should all count ourselves as Texans in spirit today.
The temporary restraining order goes until 8AM on August 13, “or until such later date as may be extended by the Court or agreed upon by the parties.” That's the specific date and time set for the hearing on the request for a preliminary injunction against Gov. Abbott’s order. In the meantime, presumably the buses will continue to run.
Jacobson agrees that Biden’s malfeasance is “outrageous,” but he says Texas still has “an uphill fight.”