Washington, DC – Leading voices are escalating the condemnation of Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s relentless nativism, his use of dangerous “invasion” rhetoric and his role in blocking needed policy solutions in favor of cynical political posturing.
Boston Globe columnist Marcela García and the Washington Post editorial board each weighed in over the weekend to make powerful cases against Abbott. Below, we excerpt both pieces:
Marcela García column in the Boston Globe, “Demonizing migrants may be the GOP’s most consistent platform. Just ask Texas Governor Greg Abbott” (key excerpts below):
“In his war against migrants, Governor Greg Abbott of Texas is at it again. And what happens in Texas, doesn’t always stay in Texas.
… At its core, Abbott’s executive order is an escalation in the Republican governor’s pattern of using migrants as political piñatas, and it’s the type of fearmongering that could lead to dangerous outcomes — beyond Texas and the border.
…It’s not hyperbole to say that the “invasion” rhetoric has deadly consequences … Recall the El Paso massacre at Walmart in 2019 when a gunman driven by his beliefs in the “Hispanic invasion of Texas” killed 20 people. Just a day before, Abbott had sent a campaign letter to supporters citing anti-immigrant rhetoric, writing “we’ll need to take matters into our own hands.” Yet the fearmongering that Abbott is sowing with policies that invite racial profiling is not limited to the border and the Lone Star state.
“We’ve identified over 120 different paid political ads from 44 different Republican campaigns in this midterm cycle, in over 330 separate tweets from the first six months of this year, across 79 different Republican campaigns, that have promoted a version of the false white replacement and invasion conspiracies,” Zachary Mueller, political director of America’s Voice, said in the press call. One notable example is the Trump-backed gubernatorial candidate in Arizona, Kari Lake, who has vowed to declare a border invasion if she wins.
Texas has quickly become a place to try some of the most extremist GOP policies, said Mario Carrillo, campaign manager at America’s Voice. But other state political leaders are surely watching Abbott. “What happens here, doesn’t often stay here and others will be watching to see what kind of impact this executive order has in the state.”
…Without question, Abbott’s anti-immigrant fearmongering is becoming normalized. Demonization often leads to violence, and in the GOP, which seems to be bankrupt of any thoughtful ideas, creating false enemies may be its most consistent platform.”
Washington Post editorial: “In a close race, Texas’s Abbott talks war — against migrants” (key excerpts below):
“As polls in Texas show Republican Gov. Greg Abbott in a tough reelection fight for what would be his third term, his rhetoric, actions and stunts involving illegal immigration have become increasingly extreme.
…About three years ago, after a mass shooting by a white supremacist at a Walmart in El Paso that left 23 people dead, most of them Latino, Mr. Abbott acknowledged the role of incendiary hyperbole leading up to the massacre. That presumably included his own rhetoric, which included warnings of a plot to “transform Texas — and our entire country — through illegal immigration.” But Mr. Abbott’s memory is apparently short. Now, he speaks openly of declaring that an immigrant “invasion” is underway at the border, a move that supposedly would enable Texas to claim war powers, forbidden to states under the U.S. Constitution unless they are “actually invaded.”
… As the [governor’s] race has tightened, the governor’s immigration stunts have become showier — and more expensive. Under his policies, Texas has spent some $4 billion on border security — by detaining thousands of immigrants in state facilities on misdemeanor trespassing charges, deploying thousands of National Guard troops to the border, building more than 20 miles of new border wall and paying to bus some immigrants to D.C. He has also spent heavily to reinforce security in Texas border towns, although little serious crime is attributed to border crossers. In April, he played havoc with cross-border commerce by ordering safety inspections on trucks entering Texas from Mexico — an undertaking that produced no significant seizures of narcotics, guns or other contraband.
Mr. Abbott’s ostentatious policies are wasteful and ineffective; they have produced no detectable reduction in cross-border immigration. Whether they help him win reelection remains an open question.”