Washington, DC – The anti-immigrant zealotry displayed by GOP politicians continues to harm immigrants. Over the weekend, a three-year-old child aboard a bus of migrants sent by Gov. Greg Abbott died heading from Texas to Chicago. This tragedy follows weeks of headlines about the relentless dehumanization and dangerous ill treatment of migrants under Abbott. The installation of buoys designed to injure and drown migrants along the Rio Grande along the southern border got the most attention, but the busing of migrants from Texas to other parts of the country, paid for by Texas taxpayers, continues. At least one other child had to be hospitalized immediately after an Abbott-sponsored bus trip last year and now another has apparently perished. Operation Lone Star is violent, cruel, expensive, ineffective, dangerous and will continue to lead to these kinds of tragedies. This treatment of migrants, even children, is symptomatic of the overall nativist cruelty, which relentlessly attacks and dehumanizes migrants seeking safety through our asylum system.
The Texas Tribune reported on Friday:
“After a 3-year-old began showing signs of distress, the bus of asylum-seekers traveling from Brownsville to Chicago pulled over and an ambulance was called. The child later died at a hospital in Illinois.
…Since April 2022, Gov. Greg Abbott has been busing migrants to Democratic-led cities across the country, which he has said is intended to provide relief to Texas border communities. Abbott’s critics have said he is using migrants as pawns to win political points. Recently, Abbott announced that over 4,600 migrants have been bused to Chicago in the past year.”
The following is a statement from Mario Carrillo, Texas-based Campaigns Manager for America’s Voice:
“Let’s be clear. Our state’s policy choices, led by Gov. Abbott, are inflicting harm on people, including toddlers. My heart breaks at the report of another avoidable loss of a child due to the inhumane policy. Operation Lone Star is not working, and only fuels relentless attacks on immigrants. This latest tragedy is symptomatic of the overall dangers that are manifesting from the spiral of nativist rhetoric coming from GOP leaders who are trying to tap into their anti-immigrant voter base.
As long as Gov. Abbott and other Texas Republicans continue down this spiral of dehumanization, we will continue to see these kinds of tragedies. Bussing migrants to other states for political purposes is sick, inhumane, and exploitative. It is also expensive and ineffective. Texans must come together and condemn the loss of another child at the hands of our Governor and his policies and turn away from rhetoric that continues to lead to treating children and their families as somehow less than human.”