In Texas border town, locals say military forces, not migrants, are invading (ARNIE ALPERT, 5/27/24, In Depth NH)

The following day I drove with another photojournalist to the site of Camp Eagle, an 80-acre military base under construction on the outskirts of Eagle Pass. A man from a company that rents construction equipment directed us to a white trailer, where I met Chuck Downie of Team Housing Solutions. After telling me about his family’s place on Moultonborough Neck, Downie told us we could not be there without permission from the Texas Military Department. One of his colleagues escorted us from the property.

We were also escorted by a Border Patrol agent from a farm adjacent to the Rio Grande where we were photographing fan boats and the buoys which Gov. Abbott had installed as a river barricade. For the record, I thought we had permission to be there.

“If there’s an invasion, it’s from the military,” says Jessie Fuentes, a retired communications professor who runs a canoe and kayak rental business. “There’s more military in our community than there are migrants, thousands and thousands of military from 13 different states.”

“How would you feel if all of a sudden, your community was locked up with soldiers and you couldn’t go into your favorite park? Because it has concertina wire around it or shipping containers or armed guards or you can’t access your own river and your green space?” asked Fuentes, a member of the Eagle Pass Border Coalition, a grassroots organization. “So yeah, the only invasion we got here is from the military and the Texas governor.”

Texas has already spent more than $11 billion on Lone Star, and that money’s going somewhere. Camp Eagle is being built by Team Housing, which has a $117 million contract. Storm Services LLC has its logo on Camp Charlie, located next to Maverick County Airport, where Texas National Guard members are based. Camp Alpha, where the NH Guard members are staying, is according to tax records owned by Basecamp Solutions LLC. An article in a Del Rio paper from the time the property was purchased, though, said the owner was Team Housing. Both LLCs are owned by Mandy Cavanaugh, from New Braunfels, so maybe it doesn’t matter.

The local immigrant detention prison is owned by the GEO Group, which according to a February 20 Newsweek article “reported one of its most profitable years amid the growing demand for immigration detention facilities.” GEO operates 11 facilities in Texas.

The $11B doesn’t count the money being spent by other states to send troops to Texas. Missouri has just approved $2.2 million for a deployment. Louisiana is sending its third rotation of soldiers. There’s “a lot of money being spent,” said Steve Fischer, who I met while he was walking his dog near the gated and guarded entrance to Shelby Park.

Fischer, who has served as a county attorney and owns a home 2000 feet from the Mexican border in El Paso, came to Eagle Pass to run a public defender program representing people charged with crimes under Operation Lone Star.

When I told him about Gov. Sununu getting $850,000 for the two-month New Hampshire deployment, Fischer said, “He’s wasting that money.”

As of two weeks ago, Fischer said, “Lone Star has not gotten one single fentanyl case.” All Lone Star is doing, he said, is charging people with felonies for driving undocumented immigrants to work sites.

Amrutha Jindal, who runs the larger Lone Star Defenders office, confirmed that most of the Lone Star felony charges are for people pulled over for driving undocumented migrants. There are very few drug cases, she said. Most arrests are for criminal trespass, including many cases where migrants seeking asylum were misdirected by law enforcement officers onto property where they could be arrested.

Jindal said migrants who post bonds to be released from jail and are then deported forfeit the funds, as much as $3000, when they are unable to appear in court for hearings because they are barred from re-entry into the United States. The money, presumably, is kept by the counties.

Most migrants “want to seek asylum,” Jindal said. “They’re not trying to sneak into the country. They’re being lied to by state law enforcement.”

Fischer thinks people who are willing to go through hell to get here and willing to work hard should be able to. “Let them come if there’s a job for them,” he told me.


America’s Third Founding: May 24, 1924, the Immigration Act of 1924 (David J. Bier, 5/24/24, Cato at Liberty)

The third founding occurred on May 24, 1924, when President Calvin Coolidge signed the National Origins Quota Act, which imposed the first permanent cap on legal immigration. Prior to the 1924 Act, all would‐​be immigrants were presumed eligible to immigrate unless the government had evidence showing that they were ineligible. The 1924 law replaced this system with the guilty‐​until‐​proven‐​innocent, Soviet‐​style quota system that we have today.

No law has so radically altered the demographics, economy, politics, and liberty of the United States and the world. It has massively reduced American population growth from immigrants and their descendants by hundreds of millions, diminishing economic growth and limiting the power and influence of this country. Post‐​1924 Americans are not free to associate, contract, and trade with people born around the world as they were before.

The legal restrictions have erected a massive and nearly impenetrable bureaucracy between Americans and their relatives, spouses, children, employees, friends, business associates, customers, employers, faith leaders, artists, and other peaceful people who could contribute to our lives. It has made the world a much poorer and less free place for Americans and people globally, necessitating the construction of a massive law enforcement apparatus to enforce these restrictions.


The Case For Open Borders: Journalist John Washington debunks common anti-immigrant myths and explains why free movement is a human right. (NATHAN J. ROBINSON, 5/17/24, Current Affairs)

One of the strangest things is that the places in the country that have the largest immigrant populations, like New York City, people there don’t think it’s going to be a threat to their culture if there’s immigration because they know that the whole vibrancy of the city is built on its diversity.

Except maybe for Mayor Adams and most of the NYPD police force. His arguments are really insulting to history, to the legacy that the current status of New York City as a city was really built by immigrants, or, going back to our last point, by invaders. Does he think that 170,000 people over a little bit more than two years is a threat? Actually, Adams has described it as an existential threat to New York City. It’s almost laughable, but it’s actually just stupid.

You can point back to so many different moments in New York City’s history and say, actually, the percentage of people who were coming at that moment in the early 20th century, and in the mid-19th century, 30 percent of the population was coming in a six-month period. Right now, it’s about 1 percent of the population coming over in a two-year period, to a robust economy. What’s going to change in New York City? There’s going to be some more stands in Queens—what is the actual change that we will see in New York? It takes some work to help orient people and to welcome them. But also, these people are barred from working right now—most of them are. Adams, to his credit, has actually addressed that point that we should give them work visas and let them actually do the work that they came here to do rather than trying to force them to rely on handouts.


This Is a “Solvable” Crisis: Denver’s Mayor on How the City Is Handling Migrant Arrivals (Isabela Dias, 3/18/24, MoJo)

Johnston spoke with Mother Jones about Denver’s approach to migrant arrivals, the bipartisan border deal blocked by Republicans, and why this is a “solvable” crisis:

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s political stunt of sending migrants to blue cities across the country had the effect of “interiorizing” the border, leading to responses like New York Gov. Eric Adams’ statement that the “migrant crisis” was going to destroy the city. What do you make of that?

That’s not our belief. We think this is a deeply solvable problem and we think the problem is not attributable to the people who are walking 3,000 miles to try to seek asylum from a country that’s persecuting them and making it impossible to survive.

We think Denver can not just survive but thrive with these newcomers arriving.

We just need a couple of key components. That’s what we pushed the federal government for. We need more work authorization. The biggest problem we have is folks who arrive in the city and tell me, “Mr. Mayor, I don’t want any help, I just want to work.” At the same time, CEOs will call me and say that they have open jobs every day that they can’t fill, and they want to be able to hire the migrants that are here. The only problem is we have the federal government standing in the way of hard-working employees who want to work and employers who want to hire them, and the government’s refusing to let them do that. We need federal resources to help us support people.

And we think there should be a coordinated plan for entry. We don’t think that the governor of Texas gets to decide where every person in America ends up. Whenever we’ve had other waves of asylum seekers, we’ve created a distribution plan that allows them to find cities that have resources. We looked at the examples from Ukrainian refugees or Afghanistan refugees and a coordinated federal response that provided work authorization and resources and connected to cities based on their capacity. We were trying to get at least one of those three things in place. Unfortunately, the bipartisan Senate bill that would have helped do that, President [Donald] Trump and the House Speaker came in to kill, which was an injustice for both our newcomers and for our cities. But we’ve found a path forward despite that and we think there’s still a way to help serve newcomers well and prevent the financial crisis in our city. We’re well on our way to resolving that now.


How immigration is driving U.S. job growth (Neil Irwin, 3/12/24, Axios)

New analysis from the Brookings Institution puts some hard numbers on the relationship between the rise in immigration and the labor market — finding an influx of workers is allowing the U.S. to sustain higher rates of payroll gains than forecasters thought it could before the pandemic.

“Faster population and labor force growth has meant that employment could grow more quickly than previously believed without adding to inflationary pressures,” economists Wendy Edelberg and Tara Watson write for the Hamilton Project.
By the numbers: Before the pandemic, forecasters estimated sustainable monthly employment growth would be between 60,000 and 130,000 in 2023 — a key reason why last year’s monthly average of 255,000 looked way too hot.

But Edelberg and Watson say that, accounting for higher immigration, the economy could have accommodated job growth between 160,000 and 230,000 in 2023 “without adding to pressure in the labor market that pushed up wages and price inflation.”

MAGA’s adoption of the Left’s economics is not coincidental. They want to tank the economy.


Abraham Lincoln’s Oft-Overlooked Campaign to Promote Immigration to the U.S. (Harold Holzer, February 8, 2024, Smithsonian)

Between 1830 and the outbreak of the American Civil War in April 1861, millions of Europeans migrated to the U.S., forever upending the demography, culture and voting patterns of the nation, especially in its teeming urban centers. In the wake of such overwhelming change, resistance to immigration and immigrants metastasized until forces arose that were determined not only to restrict foreigners from entering the country but also to disenfranchise, demonize and, occasionally, terrorize those who had already arrived, settled and earned citizenship here. And still the refugees poured across oceans and borders to reach our shores, their growing numbers inevitably challenging, and ultimately redefining, what it meant to be American.

Only when the Civil War began did foreign migration to the U.S. slow significantly. Prospective immigrants understandably shrank from the notion of abandoning one troubled country to relocate to another. To some Americans, the reduction in new foreign arrivals came as an answered prayer. For decades, immigration, particularly by Catholics, had stirred resistance, resentment and, in some cases, violence, destruction and death. Politically, these tensions split and ultimately destroyed the old Whig Party, in which Lincoln had spent most of his political career, inspiring anti-­immigration nativists to form a political organization of their own. The realignment had driven many immigrants into the ranks of the Democrats, who welcomed new arrivals with a warm embrace and a swift path to citizenship and voter registration. The issue roiled the country and exposed an ugly vein of bigotry in the American body politic. And its intractability deflected mainstream attention from the country’s original sin: slavery.

Now Lincoln looked beyond the longtime national divide over immigration to propose his revolutionary idea. Although he reported in his message that refugees were “again flowing with greater freedom” into America, their numbers had yet to reach their robust, if bitterly contested, prewar levels. And the reduction was causing what Lincoln called “a great deficiency of laborers in every field of industry, especially in agriculture and in our mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals.” In other words, America could no longer rely on American workers to fill American jobs. Employers needed to look elsewhere—namely overseas—for labor.

True enough, the Lincoln administration had in a sense contributed to this crisis-­level “deficiency.” As many as a million men had now enrolled in the Union armed forces to fight the Confederacy, and since the spring of 1863, the newly introduced military draft had been wresting laborers from farms and factories and redeploying them into the Army. As Lincoln saw matters, their necessary absence from the home front now threatened national productivity—of civilian goods as well as war materiel. Whether the situation might ease longtime hostility to foreign laborers would be left for another day. First, Lincoln urgently wanted robust immigration to resume—even if the government had to provide the means to accelerate it.

As Lincoln forcibly argued in his message, the time had come to regard immigrants not as interlopers but as assets, not as a drain on public resources but as a “source of national wealth and strength.” He expressed it this way:

While the demand for labor is thus increased here, tens of thousands of persons, destitute of remunerative occupation, are thronging our foreign consulates and offering to emigrate to the United States if essential, but very cheap, assistance can be afforded them. It is easy to see that, under the sharp discipline of civil war, the nation is beginning a new life. This noble effort demands the aid, and ought to receive the attention and support, of the government.

Summoning his full rhetorical power, Lincoln concluded his 1863 annual message with a resounding salute to the Army and Navy, “the gallant men, from commander to sentinel, who compose them”—many of them, he might have mentioned, foreign-­born—“and to whom, more than to others, the world must stand indebted for the home of freedom disenthralled, regenerated, enlarged and perpetuated.” The key words were “regenerated” and “enlarged.”


The Trump-Biden Consensus on the Economy Is Bad for Business (Michael R. Strain, 1/30/24, Financial Times)

Donald Trump and Joe Biden differ in many important ways, but both reject the broad consensus that largely governed economic policy in the decades before Trump’s 2016 election — one that is generally supportive of business and in favour of free enterprise. This is bad for businesses, workers and consumers.

Take free trade and industrial policy. Senior officials from both administrations have explicitly argued for abandoning the international economic order built after the second world war in favour of a new consensus that relies more on government planning and less on market outcomes.

But Trump and Biden’s break with the past goes beyond protectionism. Ronald Reagan chose to use his last speech as president to praise immigrants. “We lead the world,” he said, “because, unique among nations, we draw our people — our strength — from every country and every corner of the world. And by doing so we continuously renew and enrich our nation.” Trump, in contrast, charges immigrants with “poisoning the blood” of America. Biden, though much less extreme, has surprised his supporters by not being friendlier to migrants and the businesses that rely on them.

Of course, opposition to immigration comes naturally to Democrats, who view the migrants as labor competition, for Republicans it’s disgraceful.


Nathanael’s Epiphany (Malcolm Guite, January 13th, 2024, Imaginative Conservative)

The Gospel reading for this second Sunday of Epiphany (John 1:43-51) takes us to one of the most mysterious and beautiful moments in the New Testament. As the disciples begin to gather around Jesus, Philip finds Nathanael and says “We have found him of whom Moses in the Law, and the prophets did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph” (John 1:45) Nathanael’s unpromising response is ‘Can anything good come out of Nazareth?’ Nathanael is not alone in having this kind of bigoted and prejudiced attitude to ‘other’ places and people…