ACLU to Texas counties: Don't even think about helping in Gov. Abbott's border actions

AP Photo/Eric Gay

The ACLU is issuing a warning to local governments in Texas – don’t participate in Governor Abbott’s actions to secure the Texas border. The warning is to county leaders that engaging in such actions at the state level violates the U.S. Constitution. The ACLU warns against Abbott enforcing “his own version of immigration policy.”

The ACLU is absolutely correct in that immigration policy is the responsibility of the federal government. The Biden administration, however, has essentially abdicated its responsibilities on the southern border. Instead of rising to the occasion, admitting bone-headed decisions made by Biden on illegal migration are not working and reinstating policies from the former administration that worked to keep the southern border secure, Team Biden denies there is even a problem. But, if there is a problem, they have it all under control. With the number of illegal migrants continuing to rise and the prime season for migration here, the Biden border crisis shows no signs of slowing.

What, exactly, are border state governors to do? In Texas, Governor Abbott is pulling out all the stops and using every tool he has available to him. He has declared disaster declarations for counties along the border that are overwhelmed trying to cope with the flood of illegal migrants entering their communities. Local resources are limited and are being depleted in some areas. Governor Abbott acknowledged the failure of the Biden administration to address the problems experienced by residents on the border and local law enforcement. He asked county judges to send him their receipts for expenses occurring due to the border crisis and he will bill the federal government for reimbursement. Since 2014 Texas has spent about $3.5B to help secure the border and provide public safety.

Abbott has held meetings with local communities and listened to law enforcement as well as residents. The ACLU has fought Abbott each step of the way. The civil rights advocate organization regularly conflates legal immigration and illegal immigration. The Biden border crisis has produced a flood of illegal migrants crossing the border to claim asylum, not following the legal procedure in place. The ACLU sent a letter to 34 counties advising officials against taking part in what it describes as an overreach by Abbott. It’s all just a “distraction” from other issues, you see.

The ACLU noted that in the U.S. noncitizens have the legal right to seek asylum and other protections, adding that arresting and detaining immigrants due to their immigration status is unconstitutional.

In a statement, ACLU of Texas attroney Kate Huddleston said Abbott cannot seek to enforce “his own version of immigration policy”

“County officials will be in violation of the law if they enforce the governor’s plan,” Huddleston said in a news release issued Thursday. “The federal government, not states or local governments, sets immigration policy and enforces immigration law. Yet again, the governor is targeting immigrants and inciting fear and xenophobia in our state. These moves are a cruel distraction from the real problems facing the state, such as fixing the failing state electrical grid.”

Governor Abbott issued a statewide call for jailers to assist with operations at the border on Friday. The order asks jailers to work with border sheriffs in operating detention facilities. It also asks that jail beds be provided for illegal migrants arrested for state charges related to the Biden border crisis.

The state says it is seeking jailers with supervisory and release experience, trained booking officers with TLETS/AFIS experience, and current or former jailers who were honorably discharged within the last two years.

“The State of Texas will not tolerate criminal activity, which is why we are stepping up to address this crisis in the Biden Administration’s absence,” said Governor Abbott. “Part of our comprehensive efforts to secure the border include enforcing all state and federal laws, which is why we are calling on jailers and sheriffs across the state to volunteer support for our border sheriffs. Working together, we will secure the border and keep our communities safe.

If the ACLU is looking for a pissing contest with Governor Abbott, he will be happy to oblige. Abbott is well aware of the separation of federal and state responsibilities when it comes to immigration matters. The ACLU lectured him on “delicate matters in foreign relations.”

“This is in part because treatment of immigrants within the United States is ‘one of the most important and delicate’ matters in foreign relations, an area entrusted by the Constitution to the federal government,” the letter reads. “Congress has enacted federal law governing who may be removed from the United States and under what circumstances; providing for pathways for people who have reached the country fleeing violence to seek protection; and authorizing federal immigration enforcement in specific circumstances.”

Kamala Harris traveled to El Paso last week for a photo op or two on her pretend trip to the border. She wasn’t at the actual border, though, she was a little further inland at the border patrol processing center, not where the border wall and barriers are in use. Governor Abbott and both of the senators from Texas have publicly criticized her efforts as a day late and a dollar short.

Governor Abbott, along with Governor Ducey of Arizona, has issued a plea for help from other states. Florida’s Governor DeSantis was the first to answer the call. Other states are helping out, too. In recent days, Iowa announced it is sending help to Texas. Nebraska is sending state troopers to Texas.