Mario Carrillo: “Governor Abbott is more focused on his reelection efforts than on providing solutions.”
Yesterday, Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced a cynical and cruel executive order instructing state child-care regulators to revoke the licenses of facilities that house unaccompanied immigrant minors. This act of political theater by Governor Abbott could displace around 4,000 children if the federal government is forced by Abbott to pull children out of these facilities.
This is how the Dallas Morning News reports the story today:
AUSTIN — Escalating his showdown with President Joe Biden, Gov. Greg Abbott on Tuesday ordered state child-care regulators to yank licenses from facilities that house minors who crossed the state’s southern border without papers and were detained.
Currently, 52 state-licensed general residential operations and child placing agencies in Texas have contracts with the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement to care for undocumented immigrant children. ORR contracts with about 200 facilities in 22 states.
Within three months or so, Abbott’s move apparently would force them to stop serving unaccompanied minors because the facilities must have state licenses to qualify for the federal contracts.
Though it’s unclear how many are kept in unlicensed emergency sites – such as the one that just closed in Dallas or the site at Fort Bliss Army base in El Paso that can hold up to 10,000 unaccompanied migrant children and teens – Abbott’s move potentially could force relocation of up to one-fourth of the children nationwide
Denying the Biden administration use of the state-licensed shelters could force more of the children to be held at U.S. Customs and Border Protection stations – facilities deemed unsuitable for children.
This news comes as no surprise. Governor Abbott — who Trump just endorsed for reelection yesterday — has repeatedly inflamed immigration issues to appeal to white grievance voters. This is especially true now that he faces a primary opponent, following his failure to protect his state and its citizens during the recent energy crisis. In April of this year, Abbott made sensational and unproven allegations of abuse in a San Antonio facility and called for it to be closed down. He was called out for playing politics. In 2020, Abbott was the first governor to sign onto a Trump policy allowing states to refuse to settle new refugees, a move for which he was roundly criticized. And earlier this year, Abbot peddled a baseless anti-immigrant theory that migrants were responsible for the spread of COVID-19. He even tried to blame Democrats for the Trump administration’s family separation policy.
According to Mario Carrillo, Texas-based Campaign Manager for America’s Voice:
Our priority must be to ensure the safety of every child that is seeking asylum or refuge. Gov. Abbott’s priority is his own political career. Clearly, Abbott doesn’t care about the well-being of asylum seeking children. This political ploy will only further endanger children who are already fleeing dangerous situations in their home country. Governor Abbott is more focused on his reelection efforts than on providing solutions. He would rather follow Trump’s anti-immigrant agenda no matter how cruel and cynical. We deserve better.