Before the demise of the Biden-Senate immigration bill, Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes joined a coalition of 16 attorneys general on a Texas-led letter to the United States Senate leadership strongly objecting to measures in the “border bill.”
AG Reyes maintains that “Creating more laws for the President to ignore will not solve the border crisis. Congress should permit the States to enforce federal immigration laws so we can do what the federal administration refuses to do. The border bill will normalize unsustainable migrant numbers that will only encourage continued illegal crossings, rampant drug smuggling, human trafficking and national security threats. We need real tools to stop the humanitarian border nightmare.”
Despite the fate of this specific bill, the letter highlights the federal government’s failure to solve problems contributing to high volumes of border encounters, explaining: “We implore our lawmakers to return to the basics: eliminate incentives for aliens to come to the country, eliminate policies, definitions, and loopholes that allow them to illegitimately enter and stay, and credibly fortify national deportation efforts.”
The letter disavows the use of border security funding as a bargaining chip to secure foreign aid and opposes a measure in the bill that would give the District Court for the District of Columbia the sole jurisdiction to hear legal and constitutional challenges to the provisions of the proposal, which would drastically stack the deck against any legal challenges brought by the States against the federal government.
The letter additionally called on Congress to authorize the States to enforce existing federal immigration laws, explaining: “This would put to rest any even potential pre-emption arguments under the Supreme Court’s Arizona v. United States decision by legislatively overriding the issue. The Biden Administration has repeatedly—and wrongly—claimed that Texas and the other States have no legal authority to enforce federal immigration law and continues to rely on that SCOTUS decision to attack Texas’s lawful border security actions,” noting that this is “a meaningful change that would cost nothing.”