tags: Press Releases

ICYMI: Dallas Morning News: “After Uvalde Shooting, Some Say Fixation on Border Security Obscures More Urgent Threats”

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Washington, DC – A must-read article in the Dallas Morning News,After Uvalde shooting, some say fixation on border security obscures more urgent threats,” features a range of local voices in the aftermath of the deadly school shootings decrying Gov. Abbott and Texas Republicans’ ongoing and politicized focus on the border and hyping fears and focus around immigrants at the expense of actual public safety priorities.

Find key excerpts from the Dallas Morning News article below, followed by a quote from America’s Voice Texas-based Campaigns Manager, Mario Carrillo:

“More than a week after the deadliest school shooting in Texas history, one thing is clear: The heightened security surrounding this town near the border ultimately didn’t stop a homegrown shooter from inflicting terror on the community.

As the investigation continues into the flawed response of law enforcement during the massacre, elected officials and residents say the examination must also look at whether the state’s outsize focus on border security has diminished its ability to deal with other threats.

… Along the border there are some 10,000 Texas National Guard members. Of those, about 6,400 are deployed in border counties, while the rest are in support roles elsewhere, according to testimony in April from department leaders. There are also about 1,600 DPS officers supporting Operation Lone Star, which Gov. Greg Abbott launched in March 2021. Operation Lone Star has already cost the state about $4 billion since it began and the DPS has paid at least $68 million in overtime to officers sent to the U.S.-Mexico border … Last year, the state’s top leaders redirected hundreds of millions of dollars from other agencies to fund thousands of Texas Army National Guard members on the border.

…In border areas, law enforcement agencies often work together, as they did during the Uvalde shooting. But at times it can seem like almost all eyes are trained toward stopping illegal immigration, officials said.

…State Sen. Roland Gutierrez, D-San Antonio, who represents Uvalde, pointed directly at the governor, telling The Dallas Morning News that Abbott “created chaos along the border.” Gutierrez calls Abbott’s statements that the border is being overrun by migrants “fictitious” and the array of National Guard members and DPS agents protecting the border “props” designed to get Abbott reelected. “He’s presumably handing out traffic tickets and picking up migrants walking down the street; he’s sending them to Dilley,” referring to the largest immigrant detention center in South Texas, “or busing them to Washington, D.C., for political stunts,” he said. “Does he ever think, maybe, we should do some joint training with the locals on active shooter training? … You know, if I’m the governor of this state, I’d come down with my pocketbook,” Gutierrez said. “But he doesn’t have the fortitude to do the right thing. He only wants to come down here and promise little, and do nothing. Do something, man.”

…Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin, a Republican, is a strong supporter of Operation Lone Star. He told KSAT-TV that DPS troopers “have been a godsend for our community.” He’s appeared multiple times on Fox News to decry what he calls Biden’s open-border policies. He’s also criticized Abbott, for not building the border wall. McLaughlin did not respond to an interview request.

…The pain for the community is unfathomable. Grieving residents continue to form lines to place fresh flowers at makeshift memorials that seem to spring up daily. Manuel Garza said he lost two nieces in the massacre, and blames ‘[former President Donald] Trump for lighting the match that hasn’t been put out to this day. All this talk about criminals this, criminals that, Mexicans this, Mexicans that shifted the attention from our community to the border.’

Lori Contreras, who lives near Robb Elementary School, added: ‘Everything is about border security, save us from [migrants], protect us from them, but immigrants are coming to work, not to murder us … Where were they [law enforcement] when we needed them the most? We feel abandoned.’”

The following is a statement from Mario Carrillo, Texas-based Campaigns Manager for America’s Voice:

This story was heartbreaking to read as a parent and as a Texan. It’s infuriating that many of the same voices who have been denouncing attempts to actually address gun safety and are blaming supposed attempts to ‘politicize’ the school shootings are some of the loudest voices hyping fears of an immigrant ‘invasion’ and wasting millions and distracting attention and resources from real public safety threats.

Texas Republicans should be able to easily denounce theories that have led to violence, including here in Texas, but expecting our leaders like Greg Abbott or Dan Patrick to do the sensible thing is a fool’s errand. They will blame everything but our country’s obsession with guns and their continued inaction, even if it continues putting communities in danger.