Immigration And The New American Civil War: Americanists vs. Transformationists

The ongoing mass illegal migration crisis in Central and North America is caused and best understood as an existential conflict between two forces within the United States: Americanists vs. Transformationists. These forces, in turn, represent two competing regimes or ways of life. Going deeper, however, we could view the border crisis through the lens of a titanic power struggle of clashing interests, values, and cultures among five competing forces: 1) the Central American and Mexican cartels, 2) the Mexican and Central American governments, 3) the migrants themselves, 4) the Americanists, and 5) the Transformationists. These five groups have very different end goals, principles, and concepts of justice.

By  for American Greatness

Let us review what has been going on at the U.S.-Mexico border since Joe Biden’s inauguration.

The September surge of thousands of illegal Haitian border crossers from Chile and Brazil camped under an international bridge in Del Rio, Texas is simply the latest debacle in the never-ending migration crisis. Month after month, day after day, the border between the United States and Mexico becomes more porous, more chaotic, more lawless, and more violent. Nine months after January 20 there is no end in sight as record numbers of illegal migrants pour into the United States. In early October both NBC News and the Daily Mail reported that, according to the Department of Homeland Security, up to 400,000 illegal migrants could cross the border this month, doubling the 21-year record set in July.

In March, DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas admitted, “We are on a pace to encounter more individuals [i.e., illegal immigrants] on the southwest border than we have in the last 20 years.” Two weeks later, CNN reported that “according to internal government estimates . . . more than 2 million” illegal immigrants will be apprehended by the end of the fiscal year. Some are repeat border crossers; some will be returned for different reasons including health restrictions under Title 42; while many will be processed into the interior of the United States. In addition to the migrants actually observed, an estimated 500,000 so-called “got-aways” (picked up by surveillance technology, cameras, and sensors) elude the border patrol. The number of illegal migrants encountered plus the non-apprehended got-aways is estimated to be larger than the current population of San Diego, or the state of Maine, and more than three times the population of Miami, Atlanta, or Kansas City.

In McAllen, Texas, a leading rancher remarked that while he and his family have often encountered illegal migrants in the past “Now, it’s a totally different story. . . . We pick up men, children. We deal with death. We deal with rape. We deal with all sorts of things out there.” Another rancher lamented, “We’re finding children on the ranch. We’re finding dead people on the ranches. . . . You’ll wake up, 2 or 3 in the morning, you’ll have helicopters circling. It feels like a war zone.” In Jackson County, Texas, Sheriff A. J. Louderback declares, “This is unparalleled and spectacularly larger than what we’ve ever seen before as far as the amount of people coming in.”

Nearly seven months ago, on a Congressional inspection tour of the border on March 26, Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) tweeted “Border Patrol is overwhelmed, overworked, and discouraged by new [Biden] policies.” Collins further remarked, “Agents took us through a dangerous path to the Rio Grande where we could hear the Cartel members taunting us across the river. . . . Human trafficking, child abuse, and drug smuggling are rampant. This is a crisis.”

Brandon Judd, the President of the National Border Patrol Council (the border patrol union) stated that the new administration’s policies and the resulting record-breaking massive influx of illegal immigration is preventing the border patrol from its primary mission which is securing the border and protecting the American people from the cartels, drug smugglers, and criminal aliens. “We want to protect the American public, but when we get flooded with unaccompanied children . . . and family units, it pulls our resources out of the field . . . which allows the cartels to generate billions of dollars of profit . . . and that should upset every American.”

Most significantly, operational control of the border is no longer in American hands. Judd declared on television on April 10, “I was asked last night who is controlling the border? Is it President Biden? Is it Kamala Harris, who is it? And my answer was, it’s the cartels. The cartels control the border now. It’s not even the Border Patrol. It’s not even the U.S. government.”

Why is this happening now?

Immigration analysts examine so-called “push-pull” factors that facilitate migration. “Push” factors are reasons to leave one’s country (poverty, violence) and “pull” factors are circumstances and forces in a host nation (like the United States) that attract illegal immigrants. Clearly, “push” factors for many Central Americans and for others in developing countries are perennial and have existed for decades. Since inauguration day, however, the Biden-Harris Administration has created the greatest “pull” factor for illegal migration in our history by essentially gutting the enforcement of America’s immigration laws. The message is clear to the migrants and to the cartels who control the routes to the borderlands (and to whom the migrants pay thousands of dollars to escort them or their children) that now is the time to go—the American border is open.

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

On his very first day in office Biden announced a 100-day freeze on all deportations (including criminal aliens found guilty of assault, perjury, vandalism, computer hacking, resisting arrest, and forms of manslaughter including drunk driving) and the immediate cut-off of all funds for the building of a border wall. In addition, Biden’s DHS began to phase out the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) with the Mexican government. That agreement held that asylum seekers from Central America should remain in Mexico while their claims are being adjudicated. In the vast majority of cases, these Central Americans are ineligible for asylum under both U.S. and international law.

On June 1, Secretary Mayorkas terminated the Remain in Mexico rule. In August, a district judge (later backed by the circuit court and the Supreme Court) found that DHS had acted improperly and ordered the program reinstated. At this writing the Biden Administration is attempting to reverse the ruling and end Remain in Mexico. The outcome is uncertain.

A court blocked Biden’s inauguration day deportation freeze, but the administration issued new guidelines for deporting illegal alien criminals that guarantee very few deportations will be carried out. Biden returned to the Obama policy of “catch and release” in which illegal border crossers are released into the United States after being given a notice to appear before an immigration judge (often on a date far in the future.) DHS data reveals that between 2014 and 2020 about 81 percent never reported for their hearing.

Moreover, “catch and release” has become “processing” or “catch and bus” as thousands of migrants are quickly bussed (or flown secretly, “in the dead of night” as the New York Post put it) into the interior of the United States, without the consent or knowledge of local authorities. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis complained, “If the Biden Administration is so confident that their open-border policy is good for our country, why the secrecy?”

Further, Biden ended a Trump Administration diplomatic agreement with El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala that asylum seekers should follow international law by filing for asylum in the “first safe country” rather than passing through several countries in order to get to the United States. This would essentially confirm that the migrants were not legitimate asylum seekers under international law, but, instead, economic migrants not eligible for asylum.

Title 42 of the U.S. Code permits the government to expel migrants who are apprehended between ports of entry or those without a valid visa during health emergencies. Prior to the Biden Administration, in response to the COVID pandemic, Title 42 was in effect for all migrants. Biden exempted unaccompanied alien children from the Title 42 rules. Biden’s reversal of policy on Title 42 incentivized potential migrants and the cartels that control the routes to bring thousands of unaccompanied children to the U.S.-Mexico border including, according to law professor Peter Margulies, “unprecedented numbers of very young children.”

Earlier this year, Senate Judiciary Committee Republicans noted with dismay that the “Biden Administration terminated” a memorandum of agreement among federal agencies “which insured” that the potential sponsors of the unaccompanied children “were thoroughly and carefully vetted for any potential criminal concerns.” The senators worried that with Biden relaxing the vetting requirements it is now “unclear” how the “safety of the minors” could be ensured. The vast majority of the sponsors of illegal migrant children are themselves illegal immigrants living in the United States.

Also, the Biden Administration weakened the “public charge” rule that previously meant non-citizens who were likely to become dependent upon welfare were ineligible for green cards (permanent residency). DHS also announced that it would no longer endorse the concept that family or employer sponsors of potential permanent residents would be required to sign an “affidavit of support” and, thus, become legally responsible if the immigrant became financially dependent upon government support.

“Sanctuary” jurisdictions are cities, counties, or states that refuse to cooperate with federal authorities in enforcing immigration law regarding criminal aliens. The Trump Administration made federal funding contingent on cooperation with enforcing immigration law. This policy was reversed by Biden who resumed full funding for sanctuary jurisdictions that refuse to cooperate with immigration law enforcement.

In addition, the Biden Administration announced that it would no longer fine illegal immigrants who have failed to leave the United States after being legally ordered to do so. The new administration also cancelled fines already issued to illegal immigrants who had refused deportation.

On October 12 DHS Secretary Mayorkas ordered ICE to cease worksite enforcement operations that resulted in deportations of illegal aliens. Since the 1986 Immigration Control and Reform Act that balanced an amnesty for illegal immigrants with future enforcement (including employer sanctions) it has been against the law to hire illegal immigrants. With the October memo the Biden Administration essentially gutted this law. As executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, Mark Krikorian, has noted “even under Obama, DHS never openly disavowed the ban on hiring illegal aliens.”

In response to 9/11, Congress passed the Real ID Act in May 2005 to make it more difficult for illegal immigrants to board planes and enter government buildings. In 2011 Republican judiciary committee leaders Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Congressman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) complained that the Obama Administration was delaying implementation of the law. In April 2021, the Biden Administration, citing the COVID pandemic, announced further delayed implementation until May 2023—18 years after Real ID first became law.

There are two major factors that make this surge of illegal migration the most troubling America has ever faced. First, as we have just examined, since Inauguration Day the Biden-Harris Administration (unlike any previous administration in American history) has refused to enforce immigration law and has worked to weaken the entire infrastructure of border security and interior enforcement.

Second, the illegal immigrants are coming to America’s open border not simply from Central America, but according to the New York Times from “more than 160 countries.” The Times reported they are coming from Brazil, Venezuela, and Ecuador, from India, other parts of Asia, and the Middle East. There are speakers of Arabic, Haitian Creole, Hindi, and Portuguese. “We have never worked with such large numbers with this diversity,” the head of a migrant shelter in Tucson, Arizona told the Times reporter.

Under these circumstances we do not know who is entering the United States. In mid-March when House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) stated that the border patrol caught illegal aliens on the Terrorism Watch List from “Yemen, Iran, and Turkey,” he was attacked by Democratic members of Congress and the media. However, the Washington Examiner noted that the border patrol confirmed that McCarthy was accurate.

On April 5, the Customs and Border Protection agency issued a press release stating they had arrested two Yemeni men illegally entering the country during the past two months who were on both the terrorism watch list and the no-fly list. The press release was taken down within 24 hours.

On October 18, Republican Congressman Tony Gonzales from south Texas revealed on a podcast that he was told by Foreign Minister Erika Mouynes that Panama “apprehended 52 people that have been—that are associated with al Qaeda” who were in route to the United States.

Besides abandoning immigration enforcement, the Biden Administration has proposed a massive amnesty for almost all illegal immigrants in the United States. Previous amnesty proposals—the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, the failed McCain-Kennedy “comprehensive immigration reform” supported by President George W. Bush, and the failed “Gang of Eight” proposal supported by President Obama—all included measures to strengthen border security. To be sure, enforcement was to come after the amnesty, but there was a pretense of an attempt to control America’s border. Today there is not even a pretense of securing the border. Biden’s proposed legislation, the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021, offers only amnesty. This will only encourage more illegal immigration.

Why?

Why is the Biden Administration doing this? No doubt there are strictly partisan considerations. Many Democrats argue that mass immigration, legal and illegal, will assist the progressive cause as the political transformation of California has suggested. Going deeper, however, we could view the border crisis through the lens of a titanic power struggle of clashing interests, values, and cultures among five competing forces: 1) the cartels, 2) the Mexican and Central American governments, 3) the migrants themselves, 4) the Americanists, and 5) the Transformationists. These five groups have very different end goals, principles, and concepts of justice.

The Cartels

The Mexican criminal cartels are the biggest winners to date in the current illegal immigration crisis. Their overarching goal is to obtain as much wealth and power as possible through human trafficking and drug smuggling. On June 19, Tom Homan, former acting director of ICE, reiterated that the cartels (not the world’s greatest superpower) are in total control of the border. They “dictate everything.” Nothing (families, single men, women, children, fentanyl, heroin, cocaine, synthetic opioids) moves without their approval.

During this crisis the Mexican cartels have imported record amounts of the deadly drug fentanyl into American communities. At the same time, human trafficking has proved to be even more profitable. The cartels will make an estimated $5 billion this year from migrant smuggling—even more than they are currently making from drugs such as fentanyl.

The Mexican and Central American Governments

The major goals of the Mexican government under President Andrés Manual López Obrador are to defend national sovereignty and retain as much freedom of action as possible both internally against the Mexican cartels and externally against “the colossus of the north.” President López Obrador (known as AMLO) has labeled Biden “the migrant president.” According to the Washington Post AMLO and his foreign minister, Marcelo Ebrard, are “frustrated” that Biden’s policies have incentivized mass migration. This has strengthened the wealth and power of the cartels relative to AMLO’s government.

In the past, the Mexican government recognized benefits from the illegal immigration of Mexicans to the United States. The immigrants sent money back to Mexico and the migration itself operated as a safety value defusing potential social unrest. Massive caravans of Central Americans and other foreigners passing through Mexico on their way to the United States, however, are not looked upon favorably. The Mexican people agree. El Universal reported that 79 percent of Mexicans want their southern border secured to block illegal immigration from Central America and elsewhere in the world.

During the Trump years the Mexican government (after being threatened with tariffs) reached a modus vivendi with the gringos. In exchange for serious Mexican cooperation on illegal migration, the Americans would agree not to violate Mexican sovereignty by pressuring the Mexican president to alter his domestic policy.

The New York Times reported that AMLO told then President-elect Biden, “Regardless of any other considerations he [Trump] respects our sovereignty.” This satisfied AMLO because his number one priority is to implement his left-wing populist-nationalist domestic policy (Mexico’s “Fourth Transformation”) without Yankee (or green/woke/transnational/progressive) interference. This policy includes Mexican energy independence (with emphasis on state-run oil, gas, and coal initiatives) that restrict private foreign investment and that are counter to previous Mexican commitments on climate change and to Biden’s “whole of government” climate policies.

ORLANDO SIERRA/AFP via Getty Images

Central America

Like the president of Mexico, the presidents of Guatemala and El Salvador affirm that the border crisis is the result of the policies and rhetoric of the Biden-Harris Administration encouraging mass illegal migration.

Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei stated that Biden’s “messages” (promising family reunification) “were used here by the coyotes” and the cartels’ agents “that came and took our children” to use as pawns to cross the border into the United States. During their talks, Giammattei urged Vice President Harris to impose harsher penalties on the cartels’ human smugglers.

The presidents of these “Northern Triangle” countries view the mass migration as having a negative effect on their countries. Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele declared that the current mass migration crisis “is not good for the United States and it is not good for El Salvador” because he noted you don’t want “hard working people who “will be drivers of your economy” to leave the country and just send back “a remittance which would be a small portion of what they earn . . . you want them to produce here.”

Central American countries remain highly polarized since the brutal civil wars between Marxist guerillas and anti-communist forces. For the past several years the Wall Street Journal’s Latin American expert Mary Anastasia O’Grady has examined how the Guatemalan Left (the heirs of the Marxist guerillas) have thoroughly politicized law enforcement in the name of fighting “corruption” while, ironically, becoming corrupt themselves.

For example, O’Grady outlined how leading left-wing Guatemalan law enforcement officials, judges, and magistrates, including Attorney-General Thelma Aldana, collaborated with Russia and prosecuted and jailed for 19 years a dissent anti-Putin refugee entrepreneur on trumped up charges. This led to hearings by Congressman Christopher Smith (R-N.J.) whose exposé of leftist corruption in Guatemala was strongly backed by Republican Senators Marco Rubio (Fla.), Roger Wicker (Miss.), and Mike Lee (Utah.) Bill Browder, the human rights activist who led the campaign for the enactment of the Magnitsky Act, testified in support of the Russian dissent family and against the Guatemalan legal Left.

In March 2019 O’Grady reported that Guatemala had “issued an arrest warrant for former Attorney-General Thelma Aldana on charges that include falsification of documents and tax fraud.” Aldana fled to the United States. About a year later at the White House, Vice President Kamala Harris met with four Guatemalan women “legal experts” including Thelma Aldana and other leftists. Harris praised the Guatemalans: “This is a table of leaders who have fought for justice.” After meeting with Harris, Aldana declared “there is hope for Guatemala.” Most significantly, for American foreign and immigration policy O’Grady has revealed how Joe Biden as vice president, along with leading Democrats in Congress, have had close ideological ties to the Guatemalan Left.

The Migrants

The major goal of most migrants is to reach the United States and improve their economic status. By necessity, they have a close and subordinate relationship with the cartels and lesser criminal organizations: gangs, smugglers, coyotes, and human traffickers who are themselves subordinate to the cartels. Central Americans pay between $3,000 and $9,000 (other nationalities from more than 160 countries pay much more) to the transnational criminal organizations to bring unaccompanied children and families into the United States and smuggle single individuals (young males) across the border. Many in the mainstream media cede the moral high ground of the immigration crisis not to the American border communities that are overrun but to the migrants. Nevertheless, one wonders how moral is it to entrust one’s own children to transnational criminal organizations who—they must know—are capable of abusing their young children?

While many migrants are successful in making it across the U.S.-Mexico border, others (including children) are not because they are abandoned or killed by the criminal organizations that transport them. Some are forced into carrying illegal drugs, others are kidnapped and held for ransom until their relatives pay to free them. Migrant women are raped and sex trafficked.

Once in the United States, other migrants are often forced into debt bondage to pay off the cartels for their trips. As the border security chairman for the National Sheriffs’ Association put it, “They’re paying $6,000 to come into our country, [they’re] taken to communities throughout the U.S. and then exploited by the cartels with drugs, gangs and sex trafficking.”

While family units pour into the United States and tie up border patrol resources, other less benign migrants, specifically groups of young men (some with criminal intent) from many different nations are able to avoid distracted border patrol agents and wreak havoc in American border communities.

One observer described the fate of an American rancher near Comstock, Texas: “For years she has lived in her little property. . . . But she can’t be there anymore. Her home—her life’s work—has been trashed repeatedly by migrants who break and enter. They aren’t the virtuous poor looking for bread and water. They break in, she tells us, they steal things, they urinate on the floors, and they empty out the refrigerator and . . . dump what they don’t want on the living room floor.” She was told by the border patrol, “We can’t protect you. You should move.’”

ED JONES/AFP via Getty Images

Americanists

By “Americanists” I mean those who support the traditional concepts both of American immigration policy, in particular, and the American regime, or way of life, in general. These concepts would include the ideas that 1) immigration should serve the national interests of the citizens of the United States; 2) that in formulating policy we should adhere to the Constitution, the rule of law and the statutes enacted by the Congress, in short, “government by consent of the governed;” and 3) that the end goal of immigration policy is the patriotic assimilation of newcomers into the American way of life.

This is what George Washington meant when he stated that immigrants should get used to our “customs, measures, laws” and “intermix” with “our people,” in order to soon become “one people.” This is what Abraham Lincoln meant when he declared that immigrants should be as if they were “the blood of the blood and the flesh of the flesh of the men who wrote that Declaration [of Independence.]” This is what leading progressive Louis Brandeis meant when he declared, “the adoption of our language, manners, and customs is only a small part of the process [of Americanization]. To become Americanized the change wrought must be fundamental.”

This is what Democratic Congresswoman Barbara Jordan (the first African-American woman from the South elected to the House of Representatives) meant in the 1990s when she declared, “For immigration to continue to serve our national interest it must be lawful” and that “Americanization” is “our word and we are taking it back.” She further stated that, “Americanization means becoming part of the polity—becoming one of us.”

And this is the Americanist tradition that Democratic Congressman Henry Cuellar of heavily Mexican-American south Texas intuitively represented when he declared “We’ve got to enforce the law,” and we have to “deport the people that don’t have a right to be here, in the United States, it’s that simple.”

Transformationists

By “Transformationists” I mean those political, cultural, and ideological forces in America who favor the “fundamental transformation” of the United States. In their view, America has been plagued for centuries by “systemic racism” that remains embedded in our core institutions. Thus, the “fundamental transformation” of the nation is required.

Joe Biden clearly expressed the Transformationist ideology in a pre-taped address on June 6 to America’s graduating students of 2021. Biden declared that “systemic racism” is “the greatest crisis of our time;” that this problem must be “root[ed] out;” and that the new college graduates “have a chance to change the trajectory of the country.”

The Biden-Harris Administration has explicitly rejected the three core principles of the Americanist immigration tradition discussed above: 1) that immigration should first and foremost serve the interests of American citizens; 2) that immigration policy should be implemented with the consent of the American people; and that 3) patriotic assimilation is the end goal of immigration.

As we have witnessed, first, the Biden Administration has placed the interests of illegal migrants above the interests (and indeed, the well-being) of American citizens in border communities and in the interior. Second, primarily because of administration policies, approximately 1.5 million people from all over the world (many whose backgrounds are completely unknown) will enter the United States this year without the consent of American citizens as the current president (unlike all previous presidents) refuses to enforce long-standing immigration law.

Finally, in April, Biden even outlawed the use of the word “assimilation” in federal agencies. Thus, he repudiated a core Americanist symbol from George Washington to Barbara Jordan that many regard as a quintessential manifestation of the traditional success of America’s immigration story.

The Transformationists openly reject the idea that newcomers should be patriotically assimilated into the Americanist ideal of natural rights and equal citizenship. As Americanist Barbara Jordan put it, “America has always favored individual rights not collective rights.”

In direct contrast to Barbara Jordan, the Transformationist goal (and expectation) is that the vast majority of the 1.5 million or so migrants illegally entering the United States this year (with, perhaps, the exception of some Asians and anti-communist Cubans) will be “integrated” into the new group rights regime (equity rather than equality) established by American progressive elites. Hence, the newcomers will be “integrated” into the “oppressed” group category in today’s prevailing cultural Marxist framework of American life as a conflict between “oppressor” groups and “oppressed groups.”

This conflict over the future of the American way of life centers on what Aristotle characterized as a “regime”: the principles, mores, laws, customs, and culture of a people. In the same way, the argument over critical race theory (CRT) is not simply about education, but part of this broader regime conflict. The term “culture war” is misleading because it tends to trivialize what is actually occurring. Thus, for example, when parents rise up against CRT in schools this grassroots revolt could be more accurately described as Americanist resistance to Transformationist ideological aggression.

The Transformationists are gambling that their loose borders, non-enforcement policies will benefit their permanent campaign for regime change at home. So far it has worked, but whether they will ultimately achieve success or face a massive political backlash is an open question. At this point, the biggest losers are the Americanists, followed by the Mexican and Central American governments to a lesser degree.

Americanist Resistance

Americanists must make the Biden Administration pay a major political price for refusing to enforce immigration law. They should launch a massive public relations campaign demanding transparency: Where are the illegal migrants being sent? How many are there? What are the total costs to American communities? How many are being tested for COVID? Why are COVID-positive illegal migrants being “processed” into the interior of the United States? And first and foremost, why are you not enforcing immigration laws?

Americanists in the Congress, even in the minority, should conduct their own widely publicized hearings on the border and across the nation to shape the public debate. Funding for Biden’s pet projects, DHS Secretary Mayorkas’s staff, vital presidential appointments, even so-called “bipartisan” agreements, should be fought tooth and nail with maximum publicity until the president fulfills his constitutional responsibility to enforce immigration law. Unfortunately, to date congressional opposition to the quasi-open borders policy has proved ineffectual as the Transformationist juggernaut continues unabated.

Under the 10th Amendment, states have the right to enforce state laws and protect their citizens, particularly in the areas of public health and safety. Americanist-led states including Texas, Florida, Missouri, Arizona, Montana, and Louisiana have sued the federal government over the lack of immigration enforcement.

They have had some success to date blocking Transformationist efforts to end Remain in Mexico; stopping Biden’s original “no deportations for 100 days” order; and halting the administration’s policies to limit the arrest of illegal aliens in the interior of the country. Nevertheless, the illegal mass migration enabled by Biden’s Transformationist regime continues.

Jessica Vaughan, director of policy studies at the Center for Immigration Studies outlined the strategy Americanists in Florida and Texas are implementing to combat mass illegal migration. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is focusing on the myriad problems the current illegal migration is causing the citizens of that state. DeSantis has directed state law enforcement to go after the criminal networks that smuggle illegal migrants into Florida. He is demanding transparency from the federal government about the costs and criminal harm to Florida citizens caused by Biden’s quasi-open border policy. Most significantly, Vaughan notes, DeSantis is using the state’s E-Verify law to go after employers who willfully hire illegal aliens.

In Texas, Governor Gregg Abbott first declared a “state of disaster.” This expanded his authority, increased funding, and legally permitted other states to assist Texas. The Texas Department of Public Safety has begun arresting and detaining illegal immigrants who evaded the U.S. border patrol.

Brandon Bell/Getty Images

Texas is also going after so-called “got-aways.” Detaining illegal migrants is establishing some semblance of deterrence because after paying $6,000 dollars to the cartels, migrants do not expect to spend weeks or longer in detention in Texas.The Biden Administration is paying large sums of money to several non-governmental organizations or NGOs (specifically Catholic Charities and the Salvation Army) to house, process, and transport the migrants. The NGOs are philosophically aligned with the Transformationists and greatly benefit materially from their participation in the federal outsourcing of migrant social services. For example, in 2016, 30 percent of Catholic Charities’ budget of 1.2 billion came from the federal government.

As part of the emergency campaign against the Transformationists, Texas is attempting to enforce state law by insisting that the NGOs stop transporting COVID-infected migrants throughout the state and adhere to state child welfare policies. The NGOs are licensed by the state, so Americanists in Texas have some leverage in dealing with the Transformationist-oriented non-profits. Biden’s Justice Department has responded by suing Texas to stop Abbott’s executive order which prevented NGOs from transporting COVID-positive migrants. A federal judge temporarily blocked the governor’s executive order. At the time of this writing the matter remains unsettled.

The actions of Texas constitute forms of Americanist resistance to the Transformationist assault on what is essentially our way of life.  Because, as Lincoln reminded us, “public sentiment is everything” in our republic, the key issue is “Who will prevail in the court of public opinion?” One wonders what would be the verdict of American public opinion, if, for example, a determined phalanx of patriotic senators announced that they were blocking all Biden appointees until we regained operational control of the border and halted the ongoing illegal mass migration?

[Update.  In an unprecedented move Texas has just sent National Guard soldiers to the border to arrest single adult male illegal migrants that trespass state territory. The response from the Transnationalists and the counter-response by the Americanists will be crucial in shaping public opinion and determining the political direction of the migration crisis.]

At the heart of democratic self-government is first and foremost the moral right of a free people to govern themselves. What is at issue in the migration crisis is nothing less than our self-government as a free people. Do American citizens have the moral right to decide our immigration policy or is it to be decided for us by non-citizens, without our consent?

Federalist 1 asks “whether societies of men are really capable or not of establishing good government by reflection and choice, or whether they are forever destined to depend . . . on accident and force.” Hamilton was saying that success in forming good government required that the American people deliberate and decide the important political issues for themselves, rather than having decisions forced upon them by others or made by happenstance.

Several years ago, American Enterprise Institute scholar Yuval Levin wrote that we are “not” in “a political “fight to the death” with what I’m calling the Transformationists. But in the migrant crisis of 2021, in this existential conflict between Americanists and Transformationists, that is exactly what is at stake—our life or death as a self-governing republic.

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