America's Voice En Español »

America's Voice

 

In Messages, US Leaders Welcome Pope To US/Mexico Border. But Where Was Texas’s Greg Abbott?

 

US officials and leaders welcomed Pope Francis’s historic visit to the US/Mexico border yesterday, where he laid a bouquet of flowers for the thousands who have perished attempting to make a better life for themselves in the north.

The messages from officials and leaders welcoming the Pope’s historic return to the Americas were gracious and came from many regions of the United States. Well, almost.

The two Democratic candidates for President sent the Pope their virtual hugs.

Rep. Xavier Becerra, Chair of the House Democrats and a member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, sent his greetings to the Pontiff from California.

So did Texas’s Rep. Beto O’Rourke, another Democrat from right across the border in El Paso.

Couldn’t make it in person? Rep. O’Rourke’s Snapchat had you covered.

Mike Rawlings, the Democratic Mayor of Dallas, Texas, recorded this video message before traveling to Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, to greet the Pope in person.

Jose Rodriguez and Sylvia Garcia, two Democratic State Senators from Texas, were there too.

And, the Texas Democrats sent a beautiful message as well.

Curiously absent from the list of Texas officials welcoming Pope Francis to the nearby US/Mexico border was the state’s chief executive — and practicing Roman Catholic — Governor Greg Abbott.

When it came to blocking deportation relief for millions of undocumented immigrants in the United States, though, Gov. Abbott sure didn’t waste any time. In fact, Texas was leading the charge (along with 25 other states) to block DAPA and expanded DACA.

And it was initially in Texas where Governor Abbott and the 25 states found Judge Andrew Hanen to take up their case and help them block relief for immigrant families with deep roots in the United States.

Governor Abbott was invited by the mayor of Ciudad Juarez to attend the festivities, but Abbott’s office declined, citing a work conflict. Right. More like an Abbott-Francis conflict. Apparently, the Governor has plenty of time to help tear apart immigrant families, but none to devote to listening to some humane words about the immigrants who call Texas home.

The Austin-American Statesman put it best:

It’s no secret that the presence of the leader of the Roman Catholic church — particularly this pope — poses a political problem for Abbott. Pragmatically speaking, the dilemma is strategically easier for Abbott to navigate by being absent rather than risk a public scolding by the pontiff.

Francis has used his popularity and his pulpit to remind those in power of where the Church stands. Considering the fallout from Pope Francis’ visit last fall, maybe Abbott is wise to stay away. House Majority Leader John Boehner met the Holy Father in private and quit his job the next day.