Photo: These ladders were used by people who attempted to climb over the border wall near Hidalgo, Texas. Photo Credit: Fronteras Desk / CC
By Bethany Blankley [The Center Square contributor] –
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt filed a second joint lawsuit against the Biden administration on Thursday over the ongoing border crisis.
Meeting on the banks of the Rio Grande River south of El Paso, Texas, the two Republican attorneys general said they are demanding that the federal government continue to build the border wall using funds Congress appropriated for its use. One of Biden’s first acts in office was to halt construction of the border wall, which they argue violates federal law.
Additionally, it currently costs taxpayers $3 million a day to not build the wall due to contractual obligations with the construction firm tasked with building it.
“The Department of Homeland Security’s termination of construction contracts is not only unlawful, but it goes against their own research that concluded that the border wall – actual physical barriers, not just border-security technology – is extraordinarily effective in controlling illegal immigration, drug trafficking, and all the costs that go with it,” they argue.
“The Biden Administration’s flat refusal to use funds that have already been set aside by Congress to build the border wall is not only illegal and unconstitutional,” Paxton said, “it’s also wrong, and it leaves states like Texas and Missouri footing the bill.”
The Texas AG noted that this is his seventh lawsuit against the Biden administration related to surging illegal immigration at the border.
“I won’t rest until Texas is safe from the disaster he created and the disaster he continues to investigate,” he said.
Schmitt added, “So we’re partnering again, for this really important issue … one of the main reasons why we have this unprecedented surge in illegal immigration is the failure for [Biden] to build the wall that President Trump led on and Congress appropriated money for…”
The two Republican attorneys general won their first joint lawsuit when a judge ruled the administration of President Joe Biden had to reinstate the Remain in Mexico Policy, which requires migrants caught illegally crossing the border to return to their home country while their immigration cases work their way through the U.S. court system. The Biden administration has yet to implement the policy but says it plans to do so next month.
“Without a border wall, illegal immigrants, coyotes, and bad actors can simply march across our southwest border and into the interior,” Schmitt said. “The border wall needs to be built, the funds have been appropriated to continue to build the wall, and yet the Biden Administration outright refuses to do so.”
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In the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2020, Congress allocated $1.375 billion to constructing the wall along the southwest border. The Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act provided the same amount of funds, bringing the total to roughly $3 billion.
In a video Schmitt posted of him in front of the unsecured border between Texas and Mexico where no wall exists, he said he had met with Border Patrol agents and learned of their efforts to secure the border. He added, “If Joe Biden refuses to do his job – it’s up to the states to make him do his job.”
The lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court, Southern District of Texas, Victoria Division.
About the Author: Bethany Blankley is a writer at the Center Square, Patheos/Hedgerow, political analyst and former press secretary at Capitol Hill / NY / WDC. Follow Bethany on Twitter @BethanyBlankley.