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Gov. Greg Abbott and Texas Dangerously Escalate Anti-Immigrant Push

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Washington, DC Texas under Governor Greg Abbott (R-TX) has been relentless in their anti-immigrant focus, both politically and substantively. Texas is challenging federal supremacy over immigration and border control and going to new lengths to assert the Governor’s role in the national GOP spiral towards extremism. Three developments this week show that the Texas and Gov. Abbott anti-immigrant push is escalating:

  • Gov. Abbott says the threat of federal prosecution is restraining Texas from “shooting” migrants: In recent comments to right-wing radio host Dana Loesch (unearthed by Heartland Signal yesterday), Gov. Abbott stated, the “‘only thing we’re not doing is shooting people’ crossing the border because ‘the Biden Administration would charge us with murder.’” As Rep. Veronica Escobar (D-TX) stated on social media in response, “I can’t believe I have to say ‘murdering people is unacceptable.’ … It’s language like yours that left 23 people dead and 22 others injured [in the Walmart massacre] in El Paso.”
  • Escalation of clash between Texas and federal government: Yesterday, in a dramatic escalation of the state’s provocation and challenge to federal immigration supremacy, Texas National Guard troops seized control of an Eagle Pass park from the federal government and blocked Border Patrol agents from performing their duties. As Camilo Montoya-Galvez assessed for CBS News “This is an extraordinary situation:  A state is denying federal law enforcement access to a section of an international boundary, physically preventing Border Patrol agents from processing migrants in a public park near the Rio Grande (as they are required to). … A Supreme Court filing [by the Biden administration overnight] provides more details on this extraordinary federal-state standoff: it says Texas is using the state National Guard to deny Border Patrol agents and federal National Guard assess to 2.5 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border.” 
  • Texas is actively stoked immigration chaos for political purposes: A CBS News investigative report this week, “How Texas officials stymied nonprofits’ efforts to help migrants they bused to northern cities,” finds that “As an unofficial network of migrant advocates worked to bring organization and efficiency to bus arrivals in cities around the U.S., Texas officials quietly tried to thwart them, maximizing chaos for the Democratic-led cities where the buses were sent, a CBS News investigation has found.”

According to Mario Carrillo, Texas-based Campaigns Manager at America’s Voice:

“Texas and Gov. Abbott continue to escalate their relentless anti-immigrant push and it’s spiraling in dangerous new directions. Texas is ratcheting up its provocation against the federal government’s powers to control U.S. international boundaries and control immigration.  The supremacy of the federal government in these areas is clear, but the stakes go well beyond legal and constitutional bounds and instead have a terrifying real world impact. 

In his words and his actions, Gov. Abbott and his allies are fostering a dangerous climate that stokes a climate of suspicion, fear, and potential violence against families that look like mine, much like already happened in my hometown of El Paso. And they are purposefully encouraging more chaos through political stunts that treat immigrants like pawns while undermining efforts to provide comfort and safety to people fleeing danger. I can only hope Abbott’s latest descent will not lead to more real world violence, like it did in El Paso.”