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Tony Perkins / April 27, 2022

Biden Blurs the Boundaries of Border Crisis

The president, who refuses to visit the border — let alone acknowledge the crisis created there — can’t even muster the courage or compassion to confront the issue.

“We have plans,” Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said irritably when he was pressed about the border disaster. “We are executing on those plans.” That’s news to our teams on the U.S.-Mexico line. If you ask local border patrol, like reporter Carine Hajjar did, the president’s strategy (if he has one) is a joke. One agent, who was loading up a group of migrants to process, actually laughed when he was asked if the administration had a plan to deal with the nightmare they’re all living. “Not that they’ve told us,” he said.

Most agents don’t bother hiding their frustration anymore. “This is the worst I’ve ever seen it…” another told Hajjar. “This administration doesn’t care.” Even Barack Obama, they agreed, “had some idea that there’s a law-enforcement element to this — but these people just don’t care at all.” And the deadly fallout of that reality is everywhere — from the teenage girls being sold into sex trafficking by the cartels to the bodies of our own national guardsmen being pulled from rivers they should have never had to cross.

When the body of Army Specialist Bishop Evans, a Texas national guardsman, was pulled from the Rio Grande after he drowned trying to pull two migrants to safety last week, the realities of Biden’s policy hit home again. “The chaos that’s been caused on this border impacts absolutely everybody,” House Rep. Tony Gonzales (R-Texas) said somberly. “It’s killing national guardsmen, it’s killing migrants, it’s killing everything it touches.”

And yet the president, who refuses to visit the border — let alone acknowledge the crisis created there — can’t even muster the courage or compassion to confront the issue. Fortunately, conservatives (and a growing number of Democrats) have. Their latest attempt to force Biden’s hand on the surge had a breakthrough moment Monday when a U.S. district judge put a temporary stop to the president’s plans to lift Title 42, a COVID-era policy that’s kept the border from being entirely overrun. At least for now, Judge Robert Summerhays ruled, our border agents can continue to use the pandemic as an excuse to turn people away at the border.

The 21 state attorneys general who challenged the move in court celebrated the decision, which keeps one of the only remaining obstacles to a completely open border in place. “I am so proud of the lawyers from our office who just got a temporary restraining order to keep Title 42 in place,” Arizona’s AG Mark Brnovich tweeted. “We will continue to fight the Biden administration’s open border policies.”

Another one of those fights played out this morning in the U.S. Supreme Court, where justices are being asked to decide if the president overstepped his bounds by killing the “Remain in Mexico” policy. And not a moment too soon, Republicans argue. House Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas), who just got back from another trek to the border, didn’t think he could be surprised by the administration’s incompetence anymore. He was wrong. Standing on a cliff overlooking the river, Roy told “Washington Watch” listeners that he saw 100 people “literally crossing the river” while House leaders were standing there. And it’s not just the volume of illegal crossers that bothers Roy — it’s their character.

“Last Friday, we arrested a Mexican national who had been deported 15 times yet was still in the United States. And he was trafficking [and] sexually abusing a teenage girl, not even a woman, a teenage girl — prostituting her, putting her to the sex trafficking trade. Now, he’d been deported supposedly 15 times. This is because we have no serious resolve in securing our border… There is no plan,” he insisted.

He, like 100 other House Republicans thinks it’s time to hold the White House’s feet to the fire. In a letter to the DHS chief, they call out Mayorkas for “willingly endanger[ing] American citizens and undermin[ing] the rule of law and our nation’s sovereignty.” To them, his failure to secure the border and enforce our laws “raises grave questions about your suitability for office.”

Roy, who’s seen the situation up close for the last year and a half, said, “I just want everybody to understand what’s actually happening… One million people have been released into the United States since Joe Biden has been president — give or take. You could double the border patrol’s budget, triple it, quadruple it… [But] as long as you’re releasing people into the country, those numbers are going to keep going up… It doesn’t matter how many people you hire or what you do… They will keep flooding our country. More bad drugs will come in, more bad actors, more gangs, more cartel members. And we continue to see Americans get hurt.”

When the president doesn’t enforce the law, it’s a neon welcome sign to the whole world. And until the White House starts taking this emergency seriously, Biden’s lawlessness won’t just fuel the migrant surge — it will also power the national crime wave, lethal fentanyl corridors, the MS-13 “homicide trail,” the “biggest human trafficking event of our lifetime,” and more senseless deaths like Army Specialist Bishop Evans. If the administration has a plan, let’s see it. If not, voters will have their own this November.

Originally published here.

Coach Kennedy Prays for Keeps at SCOTUS

With all of the bad things he’s done in his life, Joe Kennedy is still amazed that “the thing that got me in trouble was praying.” Seven years after he lost his job as assistant coach of the Bremerton High School football team, he has no regrets for living out his faith at every game. Regardless of what the Supreme Court says about his public prayers, this Marine veteran knows better than anyone that the battles — on the field and off — belong to the Lord.

Stop praying or start walking. That was the message from district officials after Kennedy’s tradition of giving thanks from midfield at the end of games started catching on with players and opposing teams. The longtime Bremerton resident refused. He felt he’d been called to coach by God after 20 years in the military, and giving Him the glory for that opportunity was non-negotiable in his book.

At first, the coach prayed alone — until a few games in, when some of his players asked to join. “It’s a free county,” Kennedy replied. Nothing came of their tradition until 2015, when an opposing coach mentioned to the Bremerton principal that his team had been invited to pray after the game. Even though the other coach meant it as a compliment, school officials used it as ammunition to crack down on Kennedy. He complied that first week. But driving home after the only game he didn’t pray, Kennedy told ESPN he felt overwhelming regret for giving in to the pressure. He turned around and drove to the empty stadium, tears running down his face, and prayed by himself at the 50-yard line.

A week and a half later, the coach put his job on the line by resuming his postgame prayer, joined by dozens of community members, students, and players. It was a midfield kneel that would cost him his job. When the district showed that it had no interest in accommodating the coach’s First Amendment rights, the Marine vet went on the offensive and sued the district.

Monday, Kennedy took his case to the highest court, where he asks for only one thing: his job back. If the court rules in his favor, he said, he would be back in his hometown “as soon as a place could take me there.” First Liberty Institute’s Mike Berry, whose organization represented the coach, said he was “pretty optimistic” after oral arguments, where the majority of the justices seemed sympathetic to Kennedy’s case.

And rightly so. Not only is public prayer a constitutionally protected right, but frankly, this was a non-controversy to begin with. “The school district, by their own statement, said [there hadn’t been] one complaint ever, no evidence ever of any coercion, [or] anybody being pressured to participate,” Berry explained on “Washington Watch.” When school officials decided he couldn’t pray with the players, Kennedy complied — because it was “just between me and God.”

But the district’s lawyers kept moving the goalposts, Berry explained, complaining that the coach was praying where people could see him. “It’s visibly demonstrative prayer. ‘We don’t want you to do that.’” And that’s where Kennedy drew the line. “I can’t give up the very freedoms I was willing to die for. All I’m asking for is the right and ability to pray by myself for 15 to 30 seconds.” Bremerton refused. “That’s how we ended up in court,” Berry said.

In the back and forth with the justices, Clarence Thomas asked whether Kennedy would have been punished if he’d taken a knee during the national anthem. Or suppose, Samuel Alito turned to the school’s attorney, “When Coach Kennedy went out to the center of the field … and all he did was to wave a Ukrainian flag. Would you have fired him?” Alito asked. Richard Katskee replied that yes, the district would have punished him because it “doesn’t want its event taken over for political speech.” “Where is the school district rule that says that?” Alito fired back.

For now, the coach will do what he’s done for the last seven years: wait and pray. Getting his job back with his First Amendment Rights intact would be a victory, Berry explained. But there’s a lot more at stake for America.

“The implications are massive. If a public school district — a government employer — can fire somebody for doing what Coach Kennedy did, praying at the 50-yard line at the end of the game, they can prohibit a Jewish teacher from wearing a yarmulke. They can prevent a Muslim teacher from wearing a head covering. They can prevent a teacher from crossing themselves and saying a quick prayer over their salad and their square pizza before they eat in the cafeteria. It opens the door for the government to trample on the First Amendment rights of millions of Americans.”

As far as Coach Kennedy is concerned, that’s worth fighting for. “I’m willing to take this as far as it goes to defend the rights of the Constitution,” he has said. “If you believe in something you stand up.” And in this coach’s mind, standing means kneeling — to God.

Originally published here.

This is a publication of the Family Research Council. Mr. Perkins is president of FRC.

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