The Border Crisis Is a Crisis for All Americans

Texas governor Greg Abbott and Florida governor Ron DeSantis are providing Democrats with just the slightest sample of the crisis that border and other states face while the Biden administration dithers. And they hate it.

Via the Operation Lone Star initiative, the State of Texas has sent buses of migrants to sanctuary cities with Democratic mayors — most recently, to Harris’s residence in Washington, D.C. This, as DeSantis sent two planes carrying illegal immigrants to Martha’s Vineyard.

After Abbott sent just a few buses of these migrants to Chicago, Mayor Lori Lightfoot held a hysterical press conference in which she charged, “He is manufacturing a human crisis, and it makes no sense to me.” Why would it be a human crisis? Chicago advertises itself as welcoming to people with no legal status to reside in the United States, and says so on its own website. She continued, “Partnering with ICE would go against our mission to make Chicago the most immigrant-friendly city in the country and turn ours into a community of fear for immigrants.” How could routing migrants to a city that welcomes them be, as she alleged, “un-American” and “racist”?

Confronted by the migrants taking advantage of New York’s offer of sanctuary, Mayor Eric Adams gave a press conference appealing to the Biden administration: “We need the federal government’s help — money, technical assistance, and more,” he pleaded.

Abbott responded, “I hope [Adams] follows through on his promise of welcoming all migrants with open arms so that our overrun and overwhelmed border towns can find relief.”

In Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser confessed, “Our ability to assist people in need at this scale is very limited,” and then requested assistance from the National Guard. Soon she declared the arrival of these buses a public-health emergency. She accused Governor Abbott of using “desperate people to score political points.”

Abbott has acknowledged that Texas has no legal authority to compel migrants to go to other states. And there is an unsavory aspect to sending busloads of migrants to destinations chosen for political reasons. But Abbott doesn’t have to coerce the passengers. Migrants volunteer for the rides to cities that hold themselves out as welcoming to them. And he can’t be accused of using them as pawns by mayors like Lightfoot, who promptly rerouted some of the arrivals in her city to Republican suburbs of Chicago.

One of Operation Lone Star’s virtues is that it forces sanctuary cities to confront the real-world consequences of encouraging illegal migration. If a few coach buses of migrants are enough to cause Democrats to declare emergencies and beg for the National Guard, how much more serious for border states are the estimated 18,000 illegal crossings per day?

In his way, Governor Abbott has proven that the requests for assistance, resources, guidance, and firm enforcement of our immigration laws are not a Republican talking point; they are the response of any rational human being charged with maintaining order in their jurisdiction.

“We are doing a lot more [than the Trump administration] to secure the border and could be doing even more if Republicans would stop their obstruction,” said White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre on Tuesday. It’s simply not true. The Biden administration can levy and enforce punishments on migrants for repeated crossings, and it can restore the Remain in Mexico policy.

The only way to end the crisis at the border is for the United States federal government to make it clear, in the rhetoric and in the pattern of law enforcement: If you have no right to cross the border and do so, you will be caught, you will be deported, and you will lose the ability to cross into the United States legally in the future.