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El Paso Bridge Rush Is What Losing ‘Operational Control’ Of Our Border Looks Like

Scenes at the Paso Del Norte bridge linking Mexico to El Paso, Texas offered a blunt illustration of failed border policy.

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Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has spent months hammering the Biden administration over its loss of operational control at the southern border shared with Mexico. Last week, scenes at the Paso Del Norte bridge linking Mexico to El Paso, Texas, offered a blunt illustration of American leaders failing to secure the nation’s southern boundary.

On March 12, more than 1,000 migrants stormed the U.S. checkpoint forcing Customs and Border Protection to deploy crowd control measures to contain the chaos. According to a local NBC affiliate, the stampede, primarily made up of Venezuelans, was triggered by false rumors U.S. officials were allowing entry to families.

“Texans are furious about the lawlessness caused by President Biden’s open border policies,” said Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott. “Texas has done more than any state ever to secure our border.”

Governor Abbott, however, is part of the problem by declaring an invasion on the southern border while refusing to take the necessary steps to stem the tide of said invasion. In other words, the Texas governor is engaged in performative theater while doing nothing to solve the border crisis.

Last summer, Federalist Senior Editor John Davidson outlined how Texas counties are struggling to cope with the influx of unchecked migration on their doorstep.

“County officials of course can’t do anything about illegal immigration on their own, but their argument is that Abbott, as governor of Texas, can,” Davidson wrote. “They cite Article I, Section 10, Clause 3 of the Constitution, which says that states can’t do things like conduct foreign policy or engage in war, ‘unless actually invaded, or in such imminent Danger as will not admit delay.’”

Declaration of invasion would empower Governor Abbott to deploy the state’s military agencies to arrest and expel illegal immigrants immediately upon capture when the federal government falls short.

In April, Abbott declared such an invasion as legal justification to enter into security agreements with governors of four Mexican states. Indeed, Article I, Section 10, Clause 3 of the Constitution stipulates states are prohibited to “enter into any Agreement or Compact with another State, or with a foreign Power, or engage in War, unless actually invaded.

“By entering into security agreements with ‘another State, or a foreign Power,’ it would seem Abbott has tacitly acknowledged not only that his state has been ‘actually invaded,’ but that he has the constitutional authority to act in its defense,” Davidson explained. “If that’s the case, why not take the next step and avail himself of the considerable law enforcement (and military) resources at his disposal to secure the border and expel illegal immigrants?”

[READ: To Secure The Border, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott Should Shut It Down]

The images from the Paso Del Norte bridge in El Paso last week highlight a state and federal border policy that is not working. The scenes are reminiscent of the routine surges at Mexico’s own southern border with Guatemala, where migrant caravans break through barriers in an episode of mass entry.

In February, Speaker McCarthy had his first trip to the U.S.-Mexican border with the gavel. The tour with four freshman GOP lawmakers was far different than the sanitized version presented to Biden during his first visit two months ago.

“Our border, we don’t even have operational control of it anymore,” McCarthy said in southeast Arizona with the border wall as his backdrop.

Kevin McCarthy speaks at border press conference in Arizona
Photo taken by author
Image CreditTristan Justice/The Federalist

The Republican House speaker renewed his threat for impeachment against Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas over the department’s apathetic failure to secure the border.

“You cannot tell us this is secure when more than 42 percent of gottaways come through here,” McCarthy said. “You cannot tell us this border’s secure when now there is enough fentanyl in this country to kill every single American more than 20 times over.”

Migrant encounters have already eclipsed one million for fiscal year 2023, according to Fox News.

“The first months of FY 2023 have outpaced those of the prior fiscal year,” Fox News reported. “This time last year, numbers for FY22 through March 1 were 839,819 — well under the 1 million mark.”


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