By Roberto Hugo González
In a striking move that underlines the deep divides in U.S. immigration policy, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, leading a coalition of 15 attorneys general, has sent a forthright letter to the Senate’s top leaders, Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. The letter articulates strong opposition to the proposed “border bill” that emerged from negotiations between the Senate and the White House. This group of state legal leaders argues that the bill, rather than addressing the complexities of immigration and border security, exacerbates existing issues and undermines national sovereignty.
The attorneys general criticize the Biden administration for what they perceive as a deliberate dismantling of effective immigration controls established under the Trump administration, accusing the President of facilitating a “lawless mass migration episode unprecedented in our country’s history.” They argue that since President Joe Biden took office, his policies have led to an increase in border encounters and have incentivized illegal immigration through a lack of enforcement and the misuse of public resources.
Central to their objections is the claim that the proposed bill links immigration enforcement and border security to foreign aid, a strategy they find unacceptable. They argue that the security of the American homeland should not be used as a bargaining chip and that the enforcement of the country’s laws should not be subject to negotiation. The letter highlights concern over setting an arbitrary baseline for immigration encounters, hitching ICE funding to other provisions in the bill, and continuing to fund organizations that facilitate the resettlement of new arrivals in the U.S.
One of the most contentious points raised is the bill’s provision to give the District Court for the District of Columbia exclusive jurisdiction over legal challenges. The attorneys general view this as a direct attempt to limit the venues in which the federal government’s actions can be contested, thereby reducing the states’ ability to challenge federal policies that they believe are detrimental to their interests and to national security.
The coalition’s letter does not merely critique; it also calls for substantive changes to federal immigration law and policy. They suggest that Congress should focus on eliminating incentives and loopholes that attract illegal immigration, rather than codifying policies that have contributed to the current crisis. Moreover, they advocate for empowering states to enforce existing federal immigration laws, arguing that such a move would provide a clear and effective mechanism to address the challenges at the border.
This firm stance taken by the coalition of attorneys general highlights the polarized views on how to manage the U.S.-Mexico border and deal with immigration. It reflects a broader national debate over the balance between maintaining national security, upholding humanitarian principles, and managing economic interests. As Congress continues to deliberate on immigration reform, the letter from the coalition serves as a potent reminder of the deep-seated conflicts that must be reconciled to forge effective and humane immigration policies.
To read the letter, click here and below:Letter To Senate Leadership Regarding Border Bill Final