United States: The Brawl over Immigration Ignores the Root of the Problem
Eagle Pass, Texas, a town of 30,000 residents living along the U.S.-Mexico border, has become the focal point of a showdown over immigration policy between Texas Governor Greg Abbott and the Biden Administration. The governor, a Republican, launched “Operation Lone Star”, deploying Texas National Guard troops to Eagle Pass to string razor wire and install a wall of shipping containers along the Rio Grande River to deter illegal immigrants. When federal Border Patrol agents arrived to cut down the wire, their action was brought before the U.S. Supreme Court, which backed their right to pre-empt state action.
This prompted an escalation, as the issue garnered national attention. The National Republican Governor’s Conference backed Abbott, issuing a statement applauding “Texas’s Constitutional Right to self-defense”. Donald Trump, who rode the immigration issue into the White House in 2016 by pledging to shut down the borders and deport illegal aliens, praised Abbott and insisted Republicans must not back the immigration bill now in the Senate, as it would boost Biden’s re-election campaign, that is, be a “Gift to the Radical Left Democrats”. The Senate bill, backed by the White House, is an attempted compromise, connecting action to stem immigration, which has been demanded by Republicans, to funding for Ukraine, which Congressional Republicans have blocked.
Trump stated last week that if he wins back the presidency, he will immediately use his office to carry out mass deportation of illegals, and would reject amnesty provisions for immigrants presently living in the U.S. On Feb. 4, Abbott was joined by 13 Republican governors to announce a plan to extend the operation to other areas along the border. In December alone, authorities reported some 300,000 (!) illegal border crossings from Mexico.
The confrontation over immigration policy is not only an intensely partisan battle, which will likely emerge as a central issue in the 2024 election, but one which has provoked discussion of a new “Civil War,” as for many so-called U.S. conservatives, the secession from the Union by southern states in 1861 was an assertion of “states’ rights” against an overreaching federal government. While the showdown in Eagle Pass has not reached that degree of contention, the drama has served to divert attention away from the actual cause of the immigration crisis, which is U.S. government support for the neocolonial looting policies and imperial wars which have destroyed nations and forced desperate people to flee from their homes seeking better lives.