Flights From California To Texas To Cease Tomorrow
NEWS POLITICS 10/06/2039 2:08 PM ET
Flights From California To Texas To Cease Tomorrow
by Ana DiLaurenta

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Passengers will have to connect to fly from California to Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas from tomorrow.
Today is the last day of direct flights from California to Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas as California's travel ban comes into effect tomorrow.

The law, passed a month ago by California's State Legislature after sometimes rancorous debate, bans direct flights to those three states from any airport in California.

It does not prohibit passengers from catching connecting flights through a third locality.

The State Legislatures of Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas quickly passed equal measures restricting flights to California in retaliation. Their travel bans take place in a week.

All six bans include private as well as commercial air travel.

An amended version of California's bill was proposed allowing travel to Texas' larger, more liberal cities. However, Governor Fernando Flores vowed to veto any bill which did not prohibit travel to the entire state.

The ban, which has drawn equal parts praise and scorn across the nation, is expected to cost Texas approximately $9 billion in lost revenues this year, while California stands to lose $14 billion. Each state's economy is expected to be further impacted by the lost business opportunities caused by a longer commute and a sustained drop in general goodwill.

In April, polls conducted in California and Texas showed strong support for a travel ban at 73% and 81% respectively.

After the passage of California's bill, airlines servicing affected routes were sent into a frenzy as they rushed to alter schedules and inform passengers. Airline stocks declined an average of 4% in the following week, despite estimates that airlines will make up any shortfall in passenger numbers with an increase in total sales. Passengers who previously purchased a single ticket will now be forced to buy two or more due to routes being split into multiple flights.

The travel ban was proposed by California state politicians after Texas Governor Logan McHaile doubled down last year on anti-immigrant rhetoric, pledging a significant increase in state funds to police the Texas-Mexico border. In February this year, budget plans leaked showing an extra $15 billion earmarked for Texas' controversial Southern Border Patrol Scheme (SBPS). $6.5 billion of those funds is intended for the expansion of the three privately operated state illegal immigrant detention centers.

The centers are known to be overcrowded facilities where families are separated, health outcomes deteriorate and a drug culture permeates. The Director of the Batesville Detention Facility was dismissed in March after a NY Times article highlighted detainee abuse by guards.

McHaile also promised to deliver a suite of new laws designed to make it easier for police to identify and arrest illegal immigrants, with the goal of funnelling them to one of the centers for processing and ultimately deportation by federal authorities.

Flores called on McHaile to disavow any efforts to punish illegal immigrants, and to shut down the facilities. However, McHaile has been staunch in his support for the scheme.

The state governments of Oklahoma and Arkansas enacted legislation to fund similar detention centers earlier this year as rhetoric between McHaile and Flores became heated.

Amid recriminations exchanged via Twitter, McHaile pointed to a 12% drop in illegal immigration since the centers opened November last year.

The May death of Juan Palomares at the hands of SBPS officers, and the outrage it caused across the nation led to Flores vowing to ban travel directly to Texas from California's airports if the scheme was not shut down. McHaile has refused on multiple occasions.

Flores has also threatened a tax on goods imported from Texas.

Third parties have attempted to break the deadlock without success. In July, Arizona Governor Ed Siegel attempted to broker a deal which was abandoned when details leaked, causing further recriminations between Flores and McHaile, and between California and Texas state politicians.

Senator Olivia Tallenberg (D-NY) attempted to mediate the dispute last month, but after a week accused McHaile of being unwilling to compromise.

Other states have shown interest in following Texas' lead in aggressively pursuing illegal immigrants: the governors of Alabama, Georgia, Nebraska and Idaho have publicly praised Texas' scheme. South Dakota Governor, Rick Hillimann, was reported by the Argus Leader in May to favor a coalition among states concerned with illegal immigration, with emphasis on resource, information and skill sharing.

The Huntington Courier reported earlier today that the governors of Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and Arkansas have been collaborating in secret for the purposes of forming an independent refugee policy. It is unclear whether that scandal or Texas' border patrol scheme represents a deliberate challenge to the Wennstrom administration's immigration stance.

In July, President Wennstrom announced an intention to settle one million refugees this fiscal year.

Whether or not McHaile intends to confront the President on the issue of illegal immigration, his hand may be forced regardless. Rumors have been swirling among Washington insiders for the past week that National Civil Rights Agency Administrator, Queen Shon'ae, is considering a lawsuit against the state of Texas. Sources indicate she was leaning toward legal action after the death of Palomares, but held off in the hope that the states could work through the issue themselves.

Sources also elaborate that with the serious economic ramifications of the upcoming travel bans, she may have no choice but to see the issue through to the courts to determine whether Texas' scheme is constitutional.

Shon'ae has previously intimated that McHaile's language regarding immigration could constitute a breach of Kaley's Law.
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