AUSTIN — Today, the Texas Public Policy Foundation filed an amicus brief in the Biden Administration’s ongoing challenge to Texas’ placement of floating buoys in the Rio Grande river to stem the flow of illegal immigration, reduce drownings, and encourage migrants seeking asylum to utilize legal points of entry. The brief, filed on behalf of twenty-two members of the United States Congress, argues that the Biden Administration has failed to meet its required burden of establishing federal jurisdiction.

When the federal government seeks to regulate under the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution, it must establish jurisdiction to do so. Under the Rivers and Harbors Act, that means the government must produce actual evidence that the river it seeks to regulate is navigable for the purposes of interstate commerce. Thus far, the Biden Administration’s sole piece of evidence is a 1984 letter from the Coast Guard noting that in 1947, the Coast Guard believed that the river was navigable. That is just not sufficient.

“The way the Court decides this motion matters,” said TPPF’s Director of Litigation Chance Weldon. “The Rivers and Harbors Act extends federal criminal jurisdiction over ordinary Americans well outside of the politically charged confines of this case. Given these stakes, it is not too much to insist that the federal government put some boots on the ground and collect actual evidence before it can claim jurisdiction.”

TPPF’s General Counsel Robert Henneke added, “It is the proper role for the courts to constrain the Biden Administration to the statutory limits set by Congress. In this case, the federal government has not offered sufficient evidence to support its injunction motion, which then must be denied.”

TPPF’s brief can be found here.

Texas Public Policy Foundation is a non-profit free-market research institute based in Austin that aims to foster human flourishing by protecting and promoting liberty, opportunity, and personal responsibility. The Center for the American Future defends the Constitution through legal opposition to government overreach. The Center launches legal challenges at the administrative, district, and appellate court levels on behalf of ordinary people whose lives, liberty, and property are threatened by government action in defiance of the Constitution.