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GOP Rep. John Duarte Silent as Party Leaders Call for “Shooting” Migrant Families

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Just days after Texas Governor Greg Abbott publicly lamented that the state couldn’t shoot and kill migrants on sight at the southern border, a woman and two children tragically drowned while attempting to cross the Rio Grande into the state. They lost their lives just off an area of the border where Texas officials, in a dangerous and deliberate escalation by Abbott and his Operation Lone Star scheme, have blocked Border Patrol from entering and performing their duties, which includes rescuing migrants in crisis.

This is a horrific consequence of when political leaders like Abbott embrace extremist ideology that dehumanizes non-white migrants as threats that must be met with violence. Federal immigration agents who typically patrol this segment of the river were blocked from doing their jobs by Abbott. This disregard for the law and human life contributed to the drowning deaths of three migrants who might otherwise have been saved. The cruelty is unfathomable – yet when it comes to condemnation of Texas’ actions, there’s only been silence from Congressional Republicans like Rep. John Duarte (CA-13).

Rep. Duarte has also been silent as House Speaker Mike Johnson made clear he intends to become an accomplice to Abbott’s cruelty at the border. In reported remarks to his caucus, Speaker Johnson said he would not take up any legislation that would constructively address the border as long as President Biden is in office, effectively saying that Republicans, despite their control of Congress, will take no action on immigration or border matters this year.

While the silence is shocking, it is not surprising because Rep. Duarte has never rebuked leaders like Speaker Johnson, third-ranking House Republican Elise Stefanik, and so many of their GOP House colleagues regurgitating talking points about the country being “invaded” or the deadly “great replacement” theory.

Since the three deaths near Eagle Pass, the Texas governor has refused to rescind his order blocking federal Border Patrol agents from the local park that gave them access to the river, a decision that could endanger even more lives. In a testament to his ongoing cruelty, Abbott also refused a plea from Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker to pause transporting migrants to the region during the bitter cold snap in Chicago and other northern cities, noting in a letter that some migrants transported by Texas don’t have jackets or proper shoes. “On Friday, a spokesperson for Abbott said Pritzker’s request for a pause would not be granted,” the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

Rep. Duarte can no longer avoid discussing the deadly cruelty in Texas and the long-overdue need to broker solutions that will address migration. Will Rep. Duarte side with the overwhelming majority of Americans who want to fix our broken immigration system in a humane manner? Or will he, as one of the 220 House Republicans to unanimously elect Johnson as House Speaker, own this deadly cruelty and take no action?