Picking a fight with a Democratic administration over immigration policy is the easiest political play in the book for a Republican governor and Texas Governor Greg Abbot is reading every line at this point.
Republicans like Abbot say the Biden administration's policies are too welcoming (read: too humane) for immigrants, but there's little they can do about it because immigration policy is almost entirely within the control of the federal government.
One thing they can do is tell state services to stop housing undocumented children in coordination with the federal government.
AUSTIN — Escalating his showdown with President Joe Biden, Gov. Greg Abbott on Tuesday ordered state child-care regulators to yank licenses from facilities that house minors who crossed the state’s southern border without papers and were detained.
Currently, 52 state-licensed general residential operations and child placing agencies in Texas have contracts with the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement to care for undocumented immigrant children. ORR contracts with about 200 facilities in 22 states.
Within three months or so, Abbott’s move apparently would force them to stop serving unaccompanied minors because the facilities must have state licenses to qualify for the federal contracts.
If the state follows through with this, more kids will be packed into fewer facilities that are owned and operated by the federal government or pushed into other states.
Little kids, you know? Abbot is using kids as pawns in his rhetorical war with the Biden White House.
Republican protests of federal immigration authority are ironic but not funny. The Trump regime and GOP governors concentrated as much power as they could in the hands of the federal government while it suited them to do so, but Trump isn't the president anymore; the shoe is on the other foot.
If you ask me, the federal government has too much power or at least too much discretion in how laws are enforced. That's what allowed the Trump regime to put kids in cages. But there's no changing that without passing comprehensive immigration reform. Congressional Republicans could get on board with passing reform and probably negotiate at least some of their own priorities into it, but they won't ever do that. It's too easy and too politically useful for them to ever settle the matter. They'd rather go on field trips to the border and reenact Apocalypse Now on the Rio Grande.