We call them “states’ rights,” but that makes no sense.
States do not have rights. Only people have rights. And the sovereign people of the states have the right to defend themselves when their criminally negligent federal government refuses to do so.
On Thursday, we learned that the Department of Justice disagrees.
In a letter to Republican Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Brian M. Boynton objected to a new Texas law designed to combat illegal immigration and threatened to sue the state “unless Texas agrees to refrain from enforcing the law.”
Senate Bill 4, set to take effect on March 5, will make illegal entry from Mexico into Texas a state crime. By definition, illegal entry into the U.S. already constitutes a federal crime.
Under the new law, Texas police will have the authority to arrest illegal immigrants.
Boynton challenged SB 4 on the grounds that it interferes in an exclusive domain of the federal government, namely immigration enforcement.
JUST IN — The Biden administration has warned Texas that it will sue the state if it enforces SB4, a law signed by Gov. Abbott that would allow state officials to arrest, jail and prosecute migrants on illegal entry criminal charges, according to a letter obtained by CBS News. pic.twitter.com/OolQGjn63t
— Camilo Montoya-Galvez (@camiloreports) December 28, 2023
Connoisseurs of chutzpah will delight in the penultimate sentence of Boynton’s opening paragraph.
“The United States is committed to both securing the border and ensuring the processing of noncitizens consistent with the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA),” he wrote.
That supposed commitment to a secure border has resulted in record migrant crossings indistinguishable from an invasion.
Abbott responded to the letter on X.
“The Biden Admin. not only refuses to enforce current U.S. immigration laws, they now want to stop Texas from enforcing laws against illegal immigration,” the governor posted.
“I’ve never seen such hostility to the rule of law in America. Biden is destroying America. Texas is trying to save it.”
The Biden Admin. not only refuses to enforce current U.S. immigration laws, they now want to stop Texas from enforcing laws against illegal immigration.
I’ve never seen such hostility to the rule of law in America.
Biden is destroying America.
Texas is trying to save it. https://t.co/CrvkBaiH8E
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) December 28, 2023
The Biden administration has had three years to show its “commitment” to border security. But it has not done so.
Thus, one must conclude that the administration has no intention of enforcing federal immigration laws. In that event, the sovereign people have no choice but to act through their state legislatures.
SB 4 reflects all of these realities, and Abbott acknowledged them in his post.
The governor did not say, however, that the threat of legal action would have no effect. And at some point, he needs to say this.
Abbott must tell the DOJ that only federal enforcement of federal immigration laws will prevent SB 4 from taking effect.
Furthermore, if the federal government persists in its criminal negligence, then Abbott must act to secure Texas’ border. And he must do so regardless of what any federal court might rule.
The framers of the U.S. Constitution did not grant the federal government the kind of power it daily wields. And they did not give courts the authority to overrule the other two branches of government.
Federalism does not work that way. Neither does the separation of powers.
In short, if the DOJ sues, Texans should welcome the showdown. Then, whatever happens, they should proceed as they see fit with the enforcement of SB 4.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.