With our federal government now under essentially one-party rule, the conventional wisdom has been that the Democrats would be able to impose their agenda on the nation with little or no pushback. This has only served to reinforce one of the undeniable truths about modern-day politics, namely that the conventional wisdom is so often wrong.
As the new Biden administration hastily pushed through a blizzard of executive orders in its first week, it was tripped up by an obstacle in the most unlikely and ironic of places: an injunction by a U.S. district judge in Texas that temporarily impeded Biden’s attempt to put a moratorium on deportations of illegal aliens for 100 days.
The reason I say the injunction is ironic is because for the last four years, obstructing presidential authority on immigration issues via the courts has been the bread-and-butter strategy of the anti-borders left, who sued the Trump administration on virtually every one of its immigration initiatives.
These activists relied heavily on the practice of forum-shopping, looking for sympathetic and often highly partisan judges in far-flung locales to get the results they sought. In 2017 they traveled all the way to Hawaii to fight Trump’s travel ban on nationals from six Muslim-majority countries with records of poor security and vetting practices.
Why Hawaii? One reason may be because it’s where District Judge Derrick Watson presides. Watson, an Obama appointee, reliably delivered the plaintiffs’ desired outcome: a temporary restraining order preventing the travel ban from being implemented. In the four days after Trump signed the travel ban order, almost 50 lawsuits were filed against it in federal courts.
Those lawsuits were just focused on a single executive order. There were hundreds of other legal challenges deployed against almost every other Trump executive order. In one case, anti-borders legal groups found an activist judge in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of El Paso division to blockTrump’s emergency transfer of military funding for construction of the border wall in December 2019. Less than a year later, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of Trump, holding that the plaintiffs had no standing to bring the suit.
The activist groups who pushed these lawsuits are relentless and well-financed. I know this because my organization, the Immigration Reform Law Institute, has often been the only group submitting briefs against them in many of these cases. They are often funded by money that comes from Silicon Valley oligarchs and groups associated with far-left billionaire George Soros, but they are not doing it just for the money. They are true-believer extremists who seek to impose borderless, UN-sanctioned immigration laws on this country that were never approved by the American people.
Now that the left’s legal strategy is being used against them, their water-carriers in the media are breathless with outrage. That would be the same media that championed every injunction levied against the Trump immigration agenda. When news of the recent Texas injunction was announced, articles of condemnation were abundant. The halt to Biden’s policy was “bizarre,” Slate bellowed. Much attention was given to the fact that the judge in the case was a Trump appointee who did “not appear to have a rudimentary understanding of either immigration law or the practical realities of the immigration system.” So much for the media narrative of the last four years that judges who thwarted the executive branch were brave souls speaking truth to power.
The Texas ruling was a long-overdue comeuppance to those who have used our legal system to achieve political goals that do not serve the interests of our country or its citizens. After four years on offense, they must now quickly learn to play defense, as this administration’s radical immigration agenda promises many more injunctions to come.
Dale L. Wilcox is executive director and general counsel at the Immigration Reform Law Institute, a public interest law firm working to defend the rights and interests of the American people from the negative effects of mass migration.