Cox throws support behind Texas’ immigration policies, calls out ‘imbeciles in Congress’
Utah governor doesn’t know yet if the state will send resources to the U.S.-Mexico border
Utah Gov. Spencer Cox was one of 24 GOP governors to recently sign a letter supporting Texas immigration policies, though he could not say whether the state would be sending resources and personnel to the U.S.-Mexico border, like Idaho and Florida.
The Utah governor had strong words for Congress Thursday during his monthly PBS Utah press conference, telling reporters that states shouldn’t have to send resources to the southern border but are forced to because Washington, D.C., has “abdicated their responsibility around immigration for the last 40 years.”
“States should not be trying to fix this. The constitution is very clear that immigration is a federal issue. But states have to step in because these imbeciles in Congress can’t get their crap together to do something that everybody knows needs to be done,” Cox said. “And that is to protect the border, and to fix legal immigration. And all they want to do is get reelected by pointing fingers at each other, and they divide us, and they do it on purpose, and it’s embarrassing, and they should all get fired.”
Cox has been both a passionate advocate for refugees and a supporter of hardline immigration policies, including keeping Title 42 in place. He said he expects to have conversations in the coming days about how to support Texas.
“We had National Guard at the border last year, so we’ve kind of taken our turn down there and other states are taking their turns as well, so we will be having those conversations to see what’s needed as we look now with the change in law,” Cox said.
The change in law presumably means the end of Title 42, a pandemic-era policy that allowed border authorities to turn away asylum seekers at the border on the grounds of public health.
Title 42 expired one week ago, and despite fears that a surge of migrant crossings would follow, Department of Homeland Security officials in a recent media briefing said that unauthorized entries along the U.S.-Mexico border have dropped to roughly 4,400 per day after hitting 10,000 earlier in the month.
While immigration officials say it’s still too soon to tell if that downward trend is an abnormality or here to stay, advocates note that Title 42 actually incentivized repeated attempts to cross the border because it did not penalize multiple crossings. Now, under the Biden administration’s new policies, migrants will be deported rather than expelled, which can be a criminal offense and could be a deterrent.
In a letter to states asking for assistance, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott cautioned that the end of Title 42 “jeopardized our nation’s security” but also said the reduction in migrant crossings was “because of Texas’ surge in border security strategies and resources, including miles of additional razor wire barriers.”
Abbott also applauded Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who is sending National Guard troops to the border, and Idaho Gov. Brad Little, who deployed the Idaho State Police for “a monthlong mission to prevent the smuggling of people and illicit drugs.”
Cox reiterated Thursday that he supports Texas’ policies, which in addition to adding razor wire, includes deploying the new Texas Tactical Border Force, apprehending 376,000 undocumented migrants and busing asylum seekers to Democrat-run cities. The state has spent over $4.5 billion on these efforts, according to Abbott’s letter.
Cox said these efforts resemble a decadeslong failure by both Congress and the White House to act, telling reporters that the Biden administration has done a “terrible job of enforcing border security, but so have lots of administrations.”
“It’s hard to blame any single administration when really this problem lies at the feet of Congress,” the Utah governor said.
One possible solution is fixing the complex legal immigration system which Cox says “ends up pushing people to go through the back door instead of the front door.”
“We do need more immigrants in our country. We have so many job openings right now, in the state of Utah and other places, that can’t be filled. It’s actually hurting our economy that we can’t have good people that want to live here, come here,” Cox said.