The conservative Heritage Foundation hosted a panel discussion Wednesday on “immigration federalism” featuring some of the people most responsible for the Trump administration’s cruel, anti-immigrant agenda. Immigration federalism is essentially an argument for individual states — not the federal government — to take the lead on immigration policy.
The panel featured former acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf, who helped author the Trump administration’s policy of separating migrant families trying to enter the United States. Wolf joined the Heritage Foundation as a fellow earlier this year.
Ken Cuccinelli, who led the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services under former President Donald Trump, was also on the panel. Cuccinelli introduced several inhumane measures during his time in the administration, including a policy of deporting seriously ill migrants who were undergoing medical treatment.
It’s no surprise these men shared awful, nationalistic views about immigration, and the role of states in curbing it, during the panel Wednesday.
Cuccinelli claimed Texas, New Mexico and Arizona are all facing an “invasion” by undocumented migrants, which he said states should legally interpret as an act of war. He cited never-before-invoked constitutional clauses declaring no state shall “engage in war, unless actually invaded,” and another saying federal officials are required to protect states from invasions. Invoking those clauses would give states latitude to take action usually reserved for the federal government, he said, like having the Texas State Guard independently ship migrants back across the Rio Grande where they came from.
Texas, New Mexico and Arizona are not facing “invasions,” but Cuccinelli’s words are meant to dehumanize. They’re a clarion call for anti-migrant crackdowns, including some that potentially evade federal law, and they were delivered from a stage sponsored by one of the conservative movement’s most beloved organizations.
Wolf called for states to implement more “immigration consequences” as a deterrent. “What the current administration has done is take away any type of consequence,” he claimed.
Yes, unsurprisingly, the man who thought tearing apart migrant families was a stroke of brilliance thinks less cruel alternatives are the root of the problem.
“It’s probably the worst border crisis we have ever experienced,” he said Wednesday, unironically.
When it comes to immigration, Team Trump is getting the band back together. And they’re playing all the hits we know and have grown tired of.
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