Man, it’s HOT! The thermometer reads 101° as I pull into the Texas Border Volunteer Headquarters. I already know it’s going to be a hot, sticky, sweaty night as we post up on the South Texas ranchlands searching for illegal border crossers. Those who cross the border illegally can’t just walk up to law enforcement and turn themselves in under the Biden administration’s open border policies. Many have criminal records, are on watch lists, or are engaged in drug smuggling or human trafficking. These are the illegal aliens that volunteers like me are striving to identify and report to the Border Patrol.
As I step out of my air-conditioned truck into the searing Texas heat, a question arises: Why, after over a decade, am I still participating in this endeavor? The answer concerning personal motivation is clear. I love my country; I love Texas. My sense of patriotism and commitment to upholding the rule of law runs deep.
Reflecting on the past 10 years, it’s evident that the conservative grassroots of Texas have been actively addressing the ongoing border crisis since the Obama Administration. In 2013, the Texas grassroots first engaged the issue in a unified manner when the “Gang of Eight” passed a broad amnesty bill for millions of illegal aliens. Outraged by the prospect of granting amnesty to individuals who flouted immigration laws, grassroots efforts joined hands to thwart this legislation, demanding that the Republican House majority reject the bill.
At the same time, Republican leadership was pushing the “Texas Solution,” a guest worker program inserted into the 2012 Republican Party of Texas (RPT) platform. During the 2014 RPT State Convention, with political savvy and a dash of luck, the grassroots base successfully replaced the Texas Solution immigration plank with a more commonsense approach rooted in the rule of law, sans the corporate guest worker provision.
Without pausing to take a breath, the conservative grassroots urged then-Governor Perry to act against the surge of illegal immigration and unaccompanied alien children crossing the border under Obama policies like Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Under the leadership of figures like JoAnn Fleming, grassroots initiatives pressed Governor Perry and proposed solutions to tackle a crisis that was burgeoning then and is now glaringly evident.
In 2014, the Texas grassroots boldly declared that the border crisis was a government-made catastrophe. Is there any doubt about that today? Their plan outlined a principled response to the border crisis, involving comprehensive solutions that surpassed mere participation in the federal “catch and release” program. The grassroots aimed to identify the constitutional authority allowing Texas to take unilateral action against the Texas Border Crisis, devise specific steps to curb the influx of illegal migration, and inform politicians, media, and the public about constitutional options. Under grassroots pressure, Governor Perry deployed the National Guard and bolstered DPS law enforcement at the border.
Regrettably, the Texas government didn’t heed grassroots wisdom back then. However, when Governor Abbott assumed office, grassroots activists once again sounded the alarm, urging the Governor to implement long-term solutions to deter illegal immigration. While the Trump administration’s border wall efforts downplayed the urgency of illegal immigration, the Biden administration’s dismantling of these policies prompted Governor Abbott to enact several border security measures. However, these measures have failed to deter the alarming numbers of illegal aliens crossing into Texas today.
The conservative Texas grassroots have consistently offered insightful perspectives on border solutions over the last decade. It’s high time that Austin’s politicians prioritize the voices of the people over the influence of corporate donors and political consultants. Consequently, the legislature did pass a border security interstate compact bill (SB1403) first proposed by the grassroots and passed by the Senate in two previous sessions. Furthermore, the state legislature crafted one of the most comprehensive border security bills ever presented that embodied many of the ideas and recommendations of the grassroots. Unfortunately, the Republican Speaker killed HB20 on a Democratic point of order that stated defending Texas was a declaration of war on Mexico.
As I sat out in the brush, I couldn’t help but wonder how much longer citizens like me would be compelled to partake in these efforts. When will Texas assert its sovereignty, truly safeguard its citizens, and protect its interests? Until that pivotal moment arrives, I suppose I’ll just keep gazing southward, ever vigilant in my commitment to my beloved Texas and our nation’s rule of law.