tags: Press Releases

Pushing Children Back into the Rio Grande? Horrific Details of Relentless Dehumanization of Immigrants

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Washington, DC – The horrific details in a story published last night by Ben Wermund of the Houston Chronicle, “Exclusive: Texas troopers told to push children into Rio Grande, deny water to migrants, records say,” demand accountability and are the result of the continued dangerous dehumanization of immigrants, America’s Voice said today. The Chronicle story includes the following excerpts:

“Officers working for Gov. Greg Abbott’s border security initiative have been ordered to push small children and nursing babies back into the Rio Grande, and have been told not to give water to asylum seekers even in extreme heat, according to an email from a Department of Public Safety trooper who described the actions as “inhumane.”

The July 3 account, reviewed by Hearst Newspapers, discloses several previously unreported incidents the trooper witnessed in Eagle Pass, where the state of Texas has strung miles of razor wire and deployed a wall of buoys in the Rio Grande.

According to the email, a pregnant woman having a miscarriage was found late last month caught in the wire, doubled over in pain. A four-year-old girl passed out from heat exhaustion after she tried to go through it and was pushed back by Texas National Guard soldiers. A teenager broke his leg trying to navigate the water around the wire and had to be carried by his father.”

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

“My state, through direct orders from Texas DPS, is now pushing small children and nursing babies back into the Rio Grande, where deployed razor wire and buoys have already increased the likelihood of drownings. It’s almost too much to comprehend. Unfortunately, as horrific as this is, it’s not all that unpredictable given the escalation in dehumanization of migrants. Yes, the details are a shocking new low from Gov. Greg Abbott and they cry out for a reckoning. However, I’m doubtful that Gov. Abbott is capable of self-reflection or real accountability. He escalated his use of white nationalist ‘invasion’ rhetoric even after the El Paso shooter’s manifesto almost exactly four years ago made clear the dangers of such conspiracies. But Gov. Abbott, among many other Republicans , has placed political fear-mongering above all, including basic decency, human rights, and how we treat even the most vulnerable in need.”

According to Vanessa Cárdenas, Executive Director at America’s Voice: 

“The horrific details in the new story are the consequences of dehumanizing immigrants and asylum seekers. Nearly every Republican – on the campaign trail, and in the halls of Congress – has escalated their false portrayal of immigrants as threats and invaders. At least fourteen states are using taxpayer money to support Gov. Abbott in his imagined border war against desperate women, men and children seeking asylum. The climate that is created by these dangerous lies and the relentless attacks opens the door to treating immigrants ―even nursing babies and children ―as less than human.”

Meanwhile, to the point raised by Vanessa Cárdenas about the broader right wing and GOP climate that dehumanizes and falsely portrays migrants as threats: the America’s Voice tracking project of anti-immigrant and right wing media messaging and advertising yesterday found a new television ad from the Stephen Miller-aligned “Citizens for Sanity” group. The ad states: 

“France opened its doors to migrants. Now those migrants and their children are sacking Paris, storming its citadels … Jihad has come to France. Is America next? Joe Biden has wiped out our border, increased refugee admissions over 700 percent…”

It is truly an ugly piece of anti-immigrant propaganda designed to incite fear and violence. As AV Political Director Zachary Mueller noted in response, the ad “is best described as a trailer for the great replacement theory novel the “Camp of the Saints.” I have watched the ads for years & this might be the worst…”