BY ALLEN WEST
Earlier this week I spoke in San Antonio for the Alamo City Republican Women’s luncheon. The date was Tuesday March 13, and 182 years ago and a week back on March 6, 1836 the stand at the Alamo had ended. Santa Ana was marching east towards what is now Houston. There’s something very special about visiting the Alamo knowing the stand for liberty that was made there. I asked a simple question of those ladies, “would those 180 or so men who gave their lives for liberty, for Texas, recognize San Antonio today?
Their expressions and sighs gave me my answer, and this recent article from the Texas Tribune confirms their concerns. But first, some background:
Senate Bill 4 allows local law enforcement officers to question the immigration status of people they detain or arrest and punishes local government department heads and elected officials who don’t cooperate with federal immigration “detainers” — requests by agents to turn over immigrants subject to possible deportation — in the form of jail time and penalties that exceed $25,000.
The one part of SB 4 that is still on hold is a provision that punishes local officials for “adopting, enforcing or endorsing” policies that specifically prohibit or limit enforcement of immigration laws. The judges kept that injunction in place, but said it only applies to the word “endorse.” The bill, as passed and signed, would have made elected and appointed officials subject to a fine, jail time and possible removal from office for violating all or parts of the legislation.
And now for the liberal reaction: “After opponents of Texas’ immigration-enforcement law were delivered what they said was a “punch to the gut” by a federal appellate court, they stressed Wednesday that they weren’t completely out of the fight.
A panel of three 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals judges ruled Tuesday that most of Senate Bill 4 can remain in effect while the case plays out. Attorneys and immigrants’ rights groups who fought against SB 4 said their next move isn’t clear but that they’re considering seeking a hearing before the entire 5th Circuit.
“There are a lot of parties [involved], so we are coordinating on this,” Efrén Olivares, the racial and economic justice director for the Texas Civil Rights Project, told reporters during a conference call. “But procedurally, the next step would be to request an en banc hearing.” There is also the possibility of asking the U.S. Supreme Court, he said. “
It appears that some folks here in Texas don’t understand the rule of law. They fail to realize that America and the state of Texas are sovereign entities and must protect those who are legal citizens. I don’t believe those men who sacrificed their lives 182 years ago did so to enable lawlessness and criminality. They stood for liberty for those legal citizens, and those naturalized to be citizens.
It’s very perplexing to comprehend the argument driving the left to demand open borders. Texas Senate Bill 4 is about abiding by the law, and the qualifying word in this debate is “illegal” as in unauthorized, immigration. What does the left seek as an end state? Anyone coming to the United States of America and Texas is allowed to disrespect our rule of law? And what is the U.S. Supreme Court supposed to rule against, especially since Texas is operating within the precepts of our Constitution, obeying federal law, which they must according to the Supremacy Clause on the issue of immigration and naturalization? Can you imagine if every state just decided to do as it wishes regarding the immigration policies of this Constitutional Republic? Of course you can — just look at California.
In California, you’re witnessing abject lawlessness when it comes to honoring our sovereignty. Ask Kate Steinle how sanctuary city and state policies turn out. Or ask Jamiel Shaw Jr. how shielding criminal illegal immigrants turned out for him. Those are just two of many examples, but you can’t ask them, because sadly, they lost their lives to criminal illegal immigrants. Now, the response from the liberal progressive open borders leftists and the radical Hispanic lobby is that I’m demonizing an entire group. No, I’m standing up for the rule of law, and the protection of American citizens.
Why does Texas Senate Bill 4 anger the left in the Lone Star State? “The legislation prohibits law enforcement supervisors from preventing their local law enforcement officers from questioning the immigration status of people they detain or arrest. It also punishes local government department heads and elected officials who don’t cooperate with federal immigration “detainers” — requests by agents to turn over immigrants subject to possible deportation — in the form of jail time and penalties that exceed $25,000, and it prohibits local entities from pursuing “a pattern or practice that ‘materially limits’ the enforcement of immigration laws” or prohibits “assisting or cooperating” with federal immigration officers as reasonable or necessary.”
In other words, Texas Senate Bill 4 supports federal law, and precludes rogue actors like the former sheriff of Dallas County and the current sheriff of Travis County from taking an ideological agenda position, and not enforce federal immigration laws. I think there’s a simple explanation. If you prefer a California-style sanctuary state, well, you’re free to move there. However, do not begin to expect Texas, or any liberty-loving state, to follow the path of a state that allows it citizens to be killed by criminal illegal immigrants.
Illegal immigration is an issue that we must control. It’s not just a local criminality issue, it’s a national security issue. If we don’t protect our borders, it’s only a matter of time. If we don’t protect our citizens, which is the purpose of law enforcement, then we have failed. To those who drone on about “build bridges not walls,” ask yourself, why does the Pope live behind a wall in Vatican City? Why do the rich entertainment elites live behind walls?
George Washington stated it very well in his November 30, 1785 letter to James Madison:
“We are either a United people, or we are not. If the former, let us, in all matters of general concern act as a nation, which have national objects to promote, and a National character to support—If we are not, let us no longer act a farce by pretending to it. for whilst we are playing a double game, or playing a game between the two we never shall be consistent or respectable—but may be the dupes of some powers and, most assuredly, the contempt of all. In any case it behooves us to provide good Militia Laws, and look well to the execution of them—but, if we mean by our conduct that the States shall act independently of each other it becomes indispensably necessary—for therein will consist our strength and respectability in the Union.”
Our respectability as a Union, our national character, and our adherence to law is critical for the preservation of this Constitutional Republic. Our strength relies on our rule of law, and our acting as a nation.
Perhaps we need more Constitutional studies courses on our colleges and universities.
Editor’s Note: This column previously appeared at AllenBWest.com. Used with the permission of the author.
Lt. Col. Allen B. West is the former U.S. Congressman representing Florida’s 22nd District, a Fox News Contributor, a contributing columnist for Townhall.com, the former Executive Director of the National Center for Policy Analysis in Dallas Texas, and the author of Guardian of the Republic: An American Ronin’s Journey to Faith, Family and Freedom. Col. West is the third of four generations of military servicemen in his family. During his 22 year career in the United States Army, he was awarded the Bronze Star, 3 Meritorious Service Medals, 3 Army Commendation Medals (1 with Valor device), and a Valorous Unit Award. In 1993 he was named the US Army ROTC Instructor of the Year. Col. West believes it will be principled constitutional conservative policies, not politics, which will secure a sound economic future for Americans.