Toma And Petersen Tell Biden: Defend The Border Or Get Out Of Abbott’s Way

February 1, 2024

By Daniel Stefanski |

Arizona legislative Republicans are again standing with state attorneys general over an issue of national importance.

This week, both the Arizona State House and Senate Republican Caucuses announced that Speaker Ben Toma and President Warren Petersen had joined a letter to President Joe Biden, “urging (the administration) to either enforce our immigration laws and protect our southern border or get out of the way so Texas can.”

The letter to the White House follows an escalating disagreement between Texas state officials and the Biden Administration over enforcement of laws and allocation of resources pertaining to illegal immigration into that state. Both sides are looking to the Supreme Court of the United States to adjudicate this politically volatile dispute.

“Arizona is overwhelmed from the same dangers brought on by this invasion as Texas. Biden is literally dismantling our nation as we know it, allowing known terrorists and criminals to enter through our southern border with no consequences,” said President Petersen. “Since our Attorney General is not pushing back against the lawlessness Biden is promoting by working to destroy the border barriers Governor Abbott has built, the Legislature must speak out and stand in solidarity to support our neighbors.”

“Texas has every right to defend itself from the unprecedented flow of illegal immigration, drug trafficking, and countless threats at our southern border because of President Biden’s willful refusal to protect this nation,” said Speaker Ben Toma. “I stand with Governor Abbott and call on Governor Hobbs to follow his lead and invoke Arizona’s constitutional right to defend itself.”

The letter that Petersen and Toma co-signed was led by the States of Iowa and Utah and joined by Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

In their letter, the attorneys general and legislators write, “The federal government should be working to stop this crisis, but it is not. And the Constitution’s Guarantee Clause requires that the federal government do so. It must ‘protect each [State] against invasion.’ But it has abandoned its duty. Nothing in the Constitution stops Texas from stepping up and doing its part to protect itself, and in so doing also protecting States across the country. To those that contend this power belongs only in Congress, they should take that up with Speaker of the House Mike Johnson, who stands with Texas. By following the Constitution, Texas is doing what the federal government has failed to do.”

Over the past few months, the two Republican legislative leaders have signaled a more aggressive shift in taking the reins from Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes to defend the law and Constitution. Attorneys general are not usually joined by outside parties on their amicus briefs or letters, yet multiple coalitions of Republican state prosecutors have included Petersen and Toma on several major filings. In previews for the 2024 legislative session, both the House and Senate Majority Caucuses indicated more of these efforts are to be expected throughout this year.

Daniel Stefanski is a reporter for AZ Free News. You can send him news tips using this link.

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