I was recently invited by Americans for Prosperity to head with them down to the Texas/Mexico border. While there, we met with agents from US Customs and Border Protection (CBP), private landowners, residents, and political figures to discuss the challenges they’re dealing with as a result of the millions of migrants flooding into our country.
We saw the Rio Grande, surprisingly narrow in some locations; Pres. Bush’s border wall; Pres. Trump’s wall, much taller; areas where crossings take place and bodies have washed up, none from drowning, by the way. We spoke with people in communities that are nearly all first or second generation Americans; they’re generally not appreciative of what’s going on.
While we have a federal government refusing to enforce the law, it’s important that states protect their residents from the many problems that come from attempting to rapidly absorb millions of migrants into an existing society.
The lawlessness at the border is also horribly impacting migrants and enriching the cartels, who collect a fee for crossing. We were told that anyone who is caught attempting to sneak across without paying the cartel-levied fee is murdered. Maybe that explains the bodies washing up from the Rio Grande. Many, many women and children have faced horrible assaults, over 80,000 minors are unaccounted for, the cartels are making more money than ever, and fentanyl is flooding into the US and killing our citizens.
States will need to act where the federal government declines.
Both Florida and Texas are attempting to take action legislatively. The Florida legislature is considering a bill that would require employers with over 25 workers to use E-verify to ensure the legal status of workers. Failure to do so could result in the loss of a business license or a fine. The legislation also makes it a felony to transport illegal aliens into the state and illegal to use a fake ID to work – just as using a fake ID for the rest of us when engaging in commerce is already against the law.
A bill in the Texas House would create a special Texas border enforcement unit, allowing the state to take action independent of the federal government and make it a felony for an illegal invader to trespass on private property. Many ranchers in remote areas along the border have been left feeling threatened due to aggressive actions of some who aren’t even legally in the country. That’s not ok. There is also a proposal for jail time when a removed person re-enters illegally and a life sentence for convicted felons who re-enter. This is OUR government, after all.
Utah has already taken some action and is engaged in a lawsuit against DHS for an administration policy allowing millions of new foreigners from specific countries to enter legally each year. Other states have sued because of the administration’s refusal to hold illegal immigrants; rather, many are released into communities without the ability to support themselves legally. The Utah Legislature should be looking at its options. Their job should include ensuring, as much as possible, that state taxpayer dollars are alloted for those here legally, that those who work are authorized by the government to do so, that we aren’t unnecessarily adding to the already-tight housing market, and that our own citizens struggling to make ends meet in this inflationary environment aren’t further hurt by bad government policy.