Texas and Missouri team up to fight illegal immigration, Biden administration

(The Center Square) – The attorneys general of Texas and Missouri have been what some may consider an unlikely pair from non-neighboring states, teaming up on lawsuits against the Biden administration over illegal immigration.

“Missouri will continue to take concrete action to secure the border, even when the Biden administration won’t,” Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt told The Center Square. “As I’ve said before, every state’s a border state.”

Schmitt has been to the southern border in Texas twice now in the last three months with Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. Most recently, he joined a group of attorneys general in McAllen, where eight of them announced another lawsuit they filed against the administration over illegal immigration.

“The Republican attorneys general are leading the charge against the Biden administration and Texas and Missouri are at the forefront of that,” Schmitt told The Center Square. “We’ve filed a few lawsuits together now,” he added, with their first win being an historic one at the U.S. Supreme Court.

Paxton and Schmitt first sued the administration last year after it halted the Remain in Mexico policy, arguing the suspension of the policy violated federal law. The high court agreed. In a 6-3 decision, it ordered the administration to reinstate it.

“Now we’re having to force the Biden administration to abide by that as they drag their feet,” Schmitt said, “but that was a big win and will hopefully allow us to get a handle on border security, which is what we had under President Trump.”

Last fall, Schmitt was in El Paso with Paxton where he said, “When you’re along the border there, you see some wall and then no wall. But the reality is that materials are sitting there on the ground rusting that could be put up, as opposed to Biden wanting to pay contractors to not do that.”

It currently costs taxpayers $3 million a day to not build the wall.

Schmitt and Paxton together sued the administration a second time, requesting the court order the administration to complete border wall construction. They’re still waiting on a ruling. However, the administration has said it doesn’t have any intention of doing so, and cancelled all construction contracts. It also announced it was using border wall funding on environmental projects and maintenance repairs instead.

In the third case, Schmitt, Paxton and six other attorneys general sued over the administration releasing minors from Central America into the U.S. The policy allows them to bring extended family members, ignoring immigration law and the Remain in Mexico policy, they argue.

Schmitt also filed a brief in support of another lawsuit Paxton filed over the Biden administration attempting to drastically alter Title 42 deportations. He, Paxton, and 14 other attorneys general urged Secretary of State Antony Blinken to take action against China and Mexico for their role in facilitating the production and distribution of illicit drugs into the U.S. through the southern border.

In 2021, fentanyl seizures at the border topped heroin seizures for the first time in U.S. history. Also last year, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration seized enough lethal doses of fentanyl to kill every American. These seizures exclude the amount of drugs seized by Texas state troopers participating in Operation Lone Star, including enough lethal doses of fentanyl to kill more than 200 million people.

“Fentanyl is entering Missouri and destroying lives – over 800 Missourians died of opioid overdoses in the first half of 2021 alone,” Schmitt said. “My office has taken proactive steps to secure the border, it’s time the Biden administration do the same. Their continued inaction could mean a matter of life or death for hundreds of Missourians.”

The Biden administration maintains its immigration policies are legal. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas has said that the administration’s policies are more humane than the Trump administration’s, and the border is secure. Yet, just days after their announcement, Immigration and Customs Enforcement requested aid from contractors to help single 18 and 19-year-olds who entered the U.S. illegally “navigate” the immigration process in the U.S., instead of deporting them or overseeing their return to Mexico to comply with the Supreme Court’s order to reinstate the Remain in Mexico policy.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection recently announced it had made nearly 2 million enforcement actions against illegal immigrants since Biden’s been in office.

Biden, who’s yet to visit the southern border, has implemented “disastrous immigration policies that have wreaked havoc on our communities and placed a massive burden on our state and nation,” Paxton said.

“Because of the scale of this crisis, the effects of unprecedented levels of illegal immigration are felt by all states,” he added. “Violence, drugs, human trafficking, and unsustainable costs on our communities follow in the wake of wave upon wave of illegal immigration. My colleagues and I are meeting to discuss what else we can do to stop it.”

While Missouri doesn’t share a physical border with Mexico, it like all other states falls within a U.S. Customs and Border Protection Sector. There are 20 in the U.S., and Missouri’s located in the Grand Forks Sector. Missouri is home to four CBP ports of entry in Kansas City, the Spirit of St. Louis Airport, Springfield, and St. Louis, where CBP agents are tasked with a range of interdiction efforts.

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