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Southern Border Showdown

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migrants at the border | Bob Daemmrich/ZUMAPRESS/Newscom

Abbott baiting Biden: Yesterday, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed a new bill, Senate Bill 4, which allows law enforcement in the state to arrest illegal migrants who entered from the southern border. Making that action a state crime will most likely result in a legal showdown between Texas and the federal government.

Abbott also signed another bill into law yesterday. Senate Bill 3 devotes $1.54 billion in taxpayer funds to the continued construction of the border wall—which comes in addition to the $1.5 billion worth of contracts the state has already devoted to building about 40 miles of wall in the last two yearsand shells out some $40 million in funds for state troopers to patrol hotspots where illegal immigrants are likely to be.

Interestingly, some border sheriffs oppose the new legislation due to fears that the court system will become overwhelmed by the sheer number of arrests. “In just one section of the 1,254-mile Texas border with Mexico” near Eagle Pass, roughly 150 miles west of San Antonio, “federal agents encountered 38,000 migrants in October,” reports The New York Times.

Regardless of your thoughts on illegal immigration, this is a stunningly large amount of taxpayer money doled out to build the border wall and fund enforcement.

A record number of migrants have shown up at the southern border during Joe Biden’s presidency. In fiscal year 2021, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) cited a record 1.72 million “enforcement encounters” with another estimated 273,000 migrants who “avoided apprehension.” This year’s number of migrant-CBP encounters is set to exceed the prior two. “Biden’s deliberate inaction has left Texas to fend for itself,” said Abbott at the signing event.

The debate over border security in Congress is ultimately about whether the United States should accept much more immigration than federal law allows,” writes David Leonhardt for The New York Times. That’s surely part of it, but I don’t think this is fully correct: I think there’s not-insignificant disdain inspired by the fact that the current system for handling inflow at the southern border is horribly chaotic, and that we should seek more of a political consensus that can then dictate how we want to act, versus remaining in a reactive crouch. 

I think that position can even be squared with wanting allotments for vastly more immigrants (as I do).

Ukraine update: “The U.S. will run out of funding for Ukraine this month if Congress does not act to pass President Joe Biden’s emergency supplemental spending request that has been stalled for weeks on Capitol Hill,” an unnamed White House official told Politico yesterday. The Biden administration has one more planned installment of aid for Ukraine, after which point funding will cease unless Congress approves more.

“Even if the Senate were to reach an agreement and pass a bill this week, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives—where a significant number of Republicans have voiced opposition to additional Ukraine aid—is not due to return to work until Jan. 8,” reports Reuters.

Scenes from New York: Protesters are defacing New York and shutting down major transit hubs including, last night, both Penn Station and Grand Central Station. They’re also using some, uh, choice words that I didn’t realize progressives were keen on. (There is only one correct take on this, and it comes from Ben Dreyfuss.)

  • The Adobe-Figma merger was halted following a call from European regulators (who hate nice things).
  • Beware of viral information on Argentina’s new president, Javier Milei. A lot of it misrepresents what he’s actually doing:
  • “Dozens of container ships bringing manufactured goods from Asia to Europe are setting off on arduous detours around Africa—snarling trade and delaying cargo deliveries—after a wave of attacks by Houthi militants on the merchant fleet in the Red Sea,” reports Bloomberg.
  • This is the gentlest possible article about Joe Biden’s age, over at Axios, with a hilarious kicker toward the end: “Polls indicate that more than 70% of voters have concerns about Biden serving a second term because of his age.” It’s almost like Biden aides and the journalist class are in favor of him getting reelected, yet most of the general population isn’t.
  • Someone please alert the kids to the incontrovertible truth that being a resident assistant in a college dorm just ain’t the same as working in the coal mines.
  • Wise:
  • “Using specialized e-commerce sites, secretive shipping workarounds and a constellation of middlemen, Russia has obtained the tech components it needs to keep its economy and war in Ukraine going,” reports The New York Times.
  • Big problem:
  • I simply cannot look away from the tradwife/eugenics/rooster discourse. To summarize: A “tradwife” Instagram influencer named Hannah, who goes by the handle @ballerinafarm, had an accident where the youngest of her seven kids got bloodied up by a rooster on the family farm, so Hannah slaughtered the rooster and made an Instagram post about the importance of culling aggressive members of the flock (standard practice in animal husbandry). The internet ran with this and claimed Hannah is…a eugenicist. I have thoughts.

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