Last week, at an event on the Mexican border, the Chair of the Texas Republican Party joined the head of the far-right paramilitary the Oath Keepers to spread blatant misinformation about the Biden-Harris administration’s immigration policies and fearmonger about the border.
Here are some key excerpts from The Daily Beast story outlining yet another deeply concerning connection between the Republican Party, anti-immigrant organizations, and violent right-wing militia groups:
At a rally next to the Mexican border this month, the chair of the Republican Party of Texas gave a speech about upholding the rule of law. Shortly afterward, the microphone was passed to Stewart Rhodes, head of the far-right paramilitary the Oath Keepers, who announced that he might soon go to jail for his alleged involvement in the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.
The March 26 “We The People Stand For Border Security” rally hosted hours of speakers who claimed (contrary to expert opinion) that immigration was out of control under President Joe Biden. Among them were prominent Texas Republicans—and Rhodes, whose organization and several of its members are accused of playing a central role in the Capitol attack.
Although the rally was not an official Republican Party event, it took place on the same day as a Texas GOP quarterly meeting, which was also hosted in Laredo. That day, the region’s Webb County Republican Party wrote a Facebook post advertising both the official Texas GOP meeting and the “a great Patriotic Rally taking place on the banks of the Rio Grande until 6PM today.”
The Republican Party of Texas did not return repeated requests for comment.
Rhodes went on to defend the Oath Keepers, the Proud Boys, and other far-right actors accused of breaking into the U.S. Capitol… During the attack on the Capitol, Rhodes allegedly issued orders to the group.
Members of immigrant-rights groups in Laredo said they have monitored the March 26 event—and recent rhetoric about immigration—with concern.
Tannya Benavides, a Laredo-based organizer with the group No Border Wall, said she was disturbed to see Republican officials speaking at the same event as the founder of the Oath Keepers. ‘That was really alarming for us. This is the first time, I think, that we’ve got this level of attention from Oath Keepers,’ Benavides told The Daily Beast. ‘We really don’t know what’s coming next.’
Although conservative event attendees decried immigration from the south, Benavides said she and other locals were concerned about an influx in far-right actors coming from out of town to rally at the border.