The Public Health Emergency The Left Won’t Declare

Written by Daniel Horowitz

We were told in 2020 that our life, liberty, and property — up to and including our right to breathe freely — were subservient to the government’s capricious invocation of public health needs. As such, under the guise of stopping a virus, state governments were able to mask children for two years, shut down businesses and churches, and even place travel bans on Americans from other states.

Now officials want to use these emergency powers for global warming and, as we saw in New Mexico last week, for gun control. But one instance in which they will not invoke emergency power, even though it would be an appropriate use of federal and state power, is to shut down the flow of millions of illegal aliens crashing our borders and filling our cities.

If a state could shut down cross-state travel for public health, how is it that the federal government and even the states have not closed their borders to people who aren’t entitled to be here? One cannot deny the public health threat of millions of illegal aliens camping out on our major cities’ streets, not to mention the crime, flow of drugs, and strain on our hospitals, schools, and social welfare system.

Here’s the state of play at the border, a reality that has permeated practically every major city.

At present, the Department of Homeland Security is catching roughly 7,000 illegal aliens a day, an annualized rate of about 2.5 million people. Tying down border agents with “catch-and-release” babysitting duties has led to roughly one “gotaway” for every three apprehensions. That is an annualized rate of about 850,000 people, including untold numbers of criminals, gang members, and even international terrorists.

The DHS reports that 160 foreign individuals on terror watch lists have been apprehended in the first 10 months of this fiscal year. These people pay a lot of money to the cartels to cross surreptitiously, so you have to believe a substantially greater number enter the country undetected. And those are only the known terrorists on a watch list.

Are states completely helpless in dealing with the problem? It’s quite evident that the federal government is facilitating the invasion and, as such, will never stop it. That leaves resolving the crisis to the red states. The time has come for states to come together and repatriate illegal aliens with their own resources, such as the state highway patrol and National Guardsmen.

Now comes the inevitable question from those who believe we’re helpless in the face of government betrayal: Isn’t deportation a federal function?

Well, aside from the U.S. Constitution not being a suicide pact, what ever happened to those public health emergency powers that state authorities wielded so enthusiastically over Americans? Why are governors suddenly so shy about using them?

We were told that there was quite literally nothing a state government could not do to stop the spread, including suspending constitutional rights. States even banned Americans from traveling from other states. Why can’t they bar the entry of illegal aliens?

Just as the U.S. Constitution prevents states from regulating interstate commerce, it certainly bars states from regulating the travel of American citizens. As the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in U.S. v. Guest (1966), “a right so elementary [as interstate travel] was conceived from the beginning to be a necessary concomitant of the stronger Union the Constitution created.”

Yet so strong were the public health powers accorded to the states, the courts have said, that the Constitution could be suspended for Americans even as it related to interstate travel during a pandemic. Why, then, don’t states have the power to send back invaders who have no business being here?

Remember when we were informed that our rights were contingent upon hospital capacity? Well, why can foreign invaders crash our hospitals with impunity, yet states can’t repel them on account of the hospitals alone?

Earlier this year, Dr. Robert Trenschel, president and CEO of Yuma Regional Medical Center, testified before the U.S. House Judiciary Committee that the acute care center was forced to divert resources away from treating Americans to deal with foreign nationals on dialysis, on cardiac catheterization, and in need of heart surgery. Here’s how he described the crushing cost to the region’s only major hospital:

Some end up in the ICU for 60 days or more. One of the largest cohorts we have seen are maternity patients who present with little or no prenatal care. These higher-risk pregnancies and births result in higher complication rates and longer hospital stays. Due to a lack of prenatal care, many of these babies require a stay in our neonatal intensive care unit — some for a month or more at a time. There are language and cultural concerns with migrant patients. We work through those, but when you consider the volume and the associated case management that comes with it — resources have to support this as well.

Yuma spent $26 million on such care, often on emergency and neonatal care, including for mothers who traveled to have U.S.-born babies. Yuma is a small city with fewer than 100,000 people, but it’s shouldering a big burden. The price tag, of course, gets much greater in large metros like New York City. Hospitals in Manhattan have spent $90 million this year on a care plan to house illegal aliens. That was before the sheer numbers were as great as they are today.

Remember, these people come from the most impoverished countries with a much lower standard of health and hygiene. We were told that the unvaccinated spread diseases. In reality, it’s all about hygiene from parts of the world that have a different living standard. For example, according to a Department of Health and Human Services document revealed as part of a Texas border lawsuit against the Biden administration, nearly 2,500 unaccompanied children with latent infections were released into 44 states over the past year.

As such, it’s odd that what appears to be the greatest public health threat — and the most unnecessary one — is the one most neglected by state and federal governments. By all rights, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, a man who invoked public health laws to block travel from Louisiana in March 2020, should be the first in line to repatriate illegal aliens across the Rio Grande.

If COVID was a major public health crisis requiring extraordinary measures to combat, how could an influx of millions of strangers from 150 countries not pose an equal if not greater public health and safety crisis? And unlike with COVID, not a single inalienable right would be trampled by sending these people back where they came from. Or is our U.S. Constitution now for everyone except “We the People”?

Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of TheBlaze and host of the Conservative Review podcast. He writes on the most decisive battleground issues of our times, including the theft of American sovereignty through illegal immigration, the theft of American liberty through tyranny, and the theft of American law and order through criminal justice “reform.”