Troopers at the southern border under Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott’s Operation Lone Star scheme have allegedly “been ordered to push small children and nursing babies back into the Rio Grande, and have been told not to give water to asylum seekers even in extreme heat,” Houston Chronicle reported. In one horrific incident detailed in the report, troopers pushed a four-year-old girl back into Mexico amid the searing heat hitting the region. The child subsequently “passed out from exhaustion.” Texas has also installed a deadly system of buoys and razor wiring that increases the likelihood of drowning.
Some troops reportedly expressed concerns about the orders to their superiors, showing more humanity, decency and understanding of what it means to be an American than Texas’ governor. They’re also showing more leadership than Rep. Juan Ciscomani (R-AZ), who has touted bipartisanship and common ground yet remained silent on his party’s state-enforced violence against migrant children and adults. His constituents deserve straight answers.
Here are three questions Rep. Juan Ciscomani must answer:
- Does Ciscomani support the draconian practice of pushing children into a deadly river? And if not, what is he going to concretely do about it? What investigation, what legislation, anything more than a half-hearted statement?
- Will Ciscomani buck the extremists in his party and actually work towards solutions to reform our broken and out-of-date immigration system? Or will he continue to be all talk and no action?
- Will Ciscomani commit to calling out his fellow Republican members when they employ dehumanizing white nationalist rhetoric about migrants?
While Ciscomani has touted his immigrant story as an example of the American Dream, he was a critical vote in ensuring the passage of H.B. 2, also known as the Child Deportation Act, this past May. His Republican colleagues promoted the bill with white nationalist conspiracy theories about “replacement” and “invasion” that have inspired multiple domestic terrorist attacks. The following month, Ciscomani again joined extremists and voted for two resolutions further advancing racist conspiracy theories and paranoia targeted at immigration and immigrants.
As we’ve previously noted, we’re now seeing the consequences of dehumanizing rhetoric play out, where even babies and children are treated as less than human. Will Rep. Ciscomani challenge his party, or continue to remain silent and be complicit in the abuses of some of the most vulnerable arriving to our border in search of asylum?