Pundits these days often warn that America may be on the brink of civil war. Finally, they’re right — except that in tiny Eagle Pass, Texas, forget being on the brink. In microcosm, civil war is already under way.
Once again playing immigration hardball, last week the Texas governor Greg Abbott, the vile, heartless Republican whose voodoo doll progressive Democrats poke pins in, sent the Texas National Guard to assume control of an Eagle Pass park used to process migrants and additional lands along the Mexican border. In so doing, the state militia is actively blocking the US Border Patrol from policing several miles along the banks of the Rio Grande. The intention, according to the Texas Military Department, is to block “organizations that perpetuate illegal immigrant crossings.” Those organizations would seem to include the federal government.
Now, Fort Sumter this is not. It’s hard to see conflicting jurisdiction over a park escalating into a four-year clash between rebel states and DC that ends with 620,000 American dead. Nevertheless, Abbott’s defiance of federal authority further ramps up the antagonism between a governor infuriated by federal inaction on what has become a siege of foreigners in his state and the Biden administration, whose relative passivity in the face of proliferating guests of the nation makes the president, in addiction terms, an “enabler.”
Constitutionally, only the federal government may fail to enforce its own immigration laws
What led to the deaths near that occupied park last weekend is disputed, but Homeland Security is clearly attempting to weaponize the drownings of three migrants, two of them children, as a demonstration that Abbott’s cavalier policies endanger human life. Texas has passed a bill making illegal immigration into its territory a state crime, a law on which the feds are asking the courts to slap an injunction before it takes effect in March. Texas has floated buoys in the Rio Grande to obstruct migrants refining their aquatic skills, which the Biden administration has sued to remove. Texas has strung concertina wire in great billows on the American side of the river, which the White House is also seeking permission from the court to cut. After all, these metallic tumbleweeds seem unfriendly.
But why are the Texas state government and the White House on opposing sides? Why wouldn’t both parties have a vested interest in controlling this chaos? Because, constitutionally, only the federal government may fail to enforce its own immigration laws.
You can understand the desperation on the ground. Under normal circumstances, Eagle Pass has a population of 29,000. Last December, 14,000 migrants arrived in this hamlet in a single day — swelling the population by 50 percent in twenty-four hours. Use your imagination. Many of these arrivals are injured or unwell; the town’s small, beleaguered fire department gets around fifty calls per day, two-thirds of them regarding migrants in distress and had to buy a fifth ambulance to handle the extra demand. All these incomers need to relieve themselves, and may not, er, find a convenient portacabin before they do so. They leave behind mountains of litter and even abandoned pets. They’re thirsty and they’re hungry. They’re usually broke and rarely speak English. But the moment they set foot in your town, their problems become your problems: their disabilities, their mental illnesses, their lawbreaking, their drug-taking, their domestic abuse, their fights with one another, their gang affiliations, their lack of employable skills, their pregnancies or kidney dialysis, their children’s learning shortfalls or behavioral issues. Eagle Pass has yet to receive any federal aid to compensate the townspeople for a crisis not of their making.
This last December alone — in winter, when illegal migration commonly slows — 302,000 uninvited visitors were encountered at America’s southern border. Ten thousand migrants per day is an obliging number for the arithmetically challenged, as annualizing that rate doesn’t even require pen and paper: 365 x 10,000 = 3.65 million immigrants/year. That includes neither get-aways nor the copious visa overstayers who fly into the US and then disappear, of whom no government bureaucracy bothers to keep track.
It’s estimated that during Biden’s tenure, between eight and ten million immigrants have crossed the southern border and were bussed or flown all over the country at the citizenry’s expense. That’s a significant percentage increase for a population of 331 million. Yet, comically, the mainstream media persistently references the same “11 million undocumented immigrants in the US” statistic that journalists have cited for 25 years — although PBS did recently dignify the ludicrously outdated figure with “at least.”
The pattern is one of an ineffectual or negligent central government that ushers millions of strangers into the country who place severe demands on taxpayers and social services, but then leaves it to local authorities to sweat the pesky details. You know, little stuff like housing and supporting a multitude of whole families.
Progressives maintain that mass immigration is a net economic benefit. You’d think, then, that our friend Governor Abbott altruistically bussing tens of thousands of foreigners north to Democrat-controlled cities would make the mayors of New York and Chicago grateful. Surely they should be fighting over which city gets more terribly beneficial migrants. Funnily enough, these mayors seem rather cheesed off instead. Mayor Eric Adams has warned that 168,000 instant New Yorkers (only 37,000 sent courtesy of Governor Abbott, with more supplicants arriving daily) could destroy the city. During last week’s winter storm, officials moved 2,000 migrants from a tented airfield to the shelter of a Brooklyn high school. Never mind the education parental taxes pay for; the students were all sent home.
The free-for-all at the Mexican border may be the single biggest determinant of which party wins in November. For Biden, clips of uniformed Border Patrol agents helping thousands of interlopers through holes in Trump’s partially constructed wall — acting purely as a gracious greeting committee — presents an ominously telegenic spectacle. At present, what the US and the UK may have most in common is feeble if not complicit central governments waving in millions from all over the world, and enraged electorates who were never asked but whose unflagging hospitality is demanded anyway.