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‘I’m Daring Them’: Texas AG Responds After White House Shoots Down Migrant Busing Threat

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has thrown down a gauntlet of sorts after the Biden administration rejected Gov. Greg Abbott’s pledge last week to begin busing illegal migrants to Washington D.C. in protest over lax border enforcement policies.

The back and forth began when the Lone Star State’s GOP governor vowed during a press conference last week to start busing illegal immigrants to the nation’s capital as he laid out a series of additional steps to retake control of Texas’ border with Mexico. Abbott has long accused the Biden administration of failing to adequately enforce the nation’s laws against illegal immigration amid record numbers of encounters practically since President Biden took office.

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Also, Abbott is part of a growing number of Republicans and Democrats upset with the administration’s decision to end Title 42, which authorized border and immigration agents to immediately deport illegal migrants as a means of slowing the spread of COVID-19. Dr. Rochelle Walensky, head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — the agency that initially imposed the rule — has said it will end May 23.

“With the Biden administration ending Title 42 expulsions in May, Texas will be taking its own unprecedented actions this month to do what no state in America has ever done in the history of this country to better secure our state, as well as our nation,” Abbott said.

“To help local officials whose communities are being overwhelmed with hordes of illegal immigrants who are being dropped off by the Biden administration, Texas is providing charter buses to send these illegal immigrants who have been dropped off by the Biden administration to Washington, D.C.,” Abbott noted further. “We are sending them to the United States capital where the Biden administration will be able to more immediately address the needs of the people that they are allowing to come across our border.”

Abbott also announced “enhanced public safety inspection of vehicles” that cross from Mexico into Texas at several ports of entry. The new policy will “dramatically slow traffic from Mexico into Texas,” the governor noted, but he nevertheless said the new process will be vital to helping curb cartel activity flowing from Mexico into Texas.

That led to pushback from the White House.

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“I think it’s pretty clear that this is a publicity stunt,” press secretary Jen Psaki told Fox News’ Peter Doocy, who asked the administration to respond to Abbott’s pledge. “I know that the governor of Texas, or any state, does not have the legal authority to compel anyone to get on a bus.”

“His own office admits that a migrant would need to voluntarily be transported and he can’t compel them to because, again, enforcement of our country’s immigration laws lies with the federal government and not a state,” she continued.

But on Saturday, Paxton said he would urge Abbott to follow through on his pledge, adding that he disagreed with prior federal court proceedings that put the responsibility for immigration enforcement solely with the federal government.

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Fox News reported:

…Paxton acknowledged a 2012 Supreme Court case, Arizona v. the United States, which prevents states from making their own immigration policies and is a “problem” for Texas’ efforts. Still, he wants Texas to move ahead with busing migrants to Biden’s doorstep and suggested the Supreme Court, now with a solid 6-3 conservative majority, could give the issue a fresh look. 

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“I think that was wrongly decided,” Paxton told “Fox and Friends” of the Arizona case on Saturday. “So I’d encourage the governor to force people to be sent out of our state and make the federal government sue us [and] take that back to the U.S Supreme Court.”

Paxton claimed he wasn’t daring the Biden administration to sue Texas, rather, “I’m daring them to follow federal law. But if they’re not going to, why should the governor not be able to protect his state?”

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