tags: Press Releases

Texas Republicans’ Anti-Immigrant Zealotry Spirals in Dangerous and Ridiculous New Directions

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Mario Carrillo: Texas GOP is the “tip of the spear” of broader Republican descent on immigration and “a danger to public safety for all Texans, a threat to core values we cherish, and a growing laughingstock outside their right wing bubble.”

Washington, DC – The relentless anti-immigrant zealotry of Texas Republicans, led by Governor Greg Abbott, continues to spiral in dangerous and ridiculous directions.

Just in the past weeks, outcry and attention have focused on the horrors of Texas reinstituting family separations, the dehumanizing dangers inflicted by razor wires, saw blades, and buoy barriers in the Rio Grande and related instructions to push even migrant children back into the waterway and the wastefulness of having spent $4.5 billion on Operation Lone Star with “little effect on migration” while facilitating “civil-rights abuses.” And there is more, as Stephania Taladrid’s powerful article in The New Yorker, “The Legacy of the El Paso Shooting,” details, Texas Republicans’ continued mainstreaming of dangerous white nationalist rhetoric and lies about “invasion” and “replacement,” even after the horrors of the El Paso shooting four years ago (August 3, 2019) should have forced a reckoning about the associated dangers.

As if that wasn’t enough, Texas Republicans are now going even further in directions that underscore both the continued dangers and the ridiculous – and self-defeating – lengths to which they will go to justify their anti-immigrant zealotry: 

  • Texas Republicans seek to defund homeland security, choosing anti-immigrant political fundamentalism over keeping America safe. Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) is leading a contingent of Texas Republicans calling for a government shutdown in September and defunding the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) unless their proposed grab bag of extreme anti-immigrant legislation is enacted, stating, “No appropriation should fund DHS until the necessary steps are taken to secure the border[.]” This push, alongside this same contingent’s push to impeach DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, underscores that nativist obsessions, falsehoods, and conspiracies trump all other matters of public safety. Remember that domestic extremists – predominantly right wing violent extremists – pose the greatest lethal terrorism threat to the U.S. per our government’s own assessments. Yet Texas Republicans are leading the charge to defund DHS and impeach the cabinet secretary tasked with protecting our homeland, while basing their supposed case on immigration falsehoods – using the many of the same talking points as the domestic extremists themselves. 
  • In official court documents, Texas takes embracing the white nationalist “invasion” conspiracy a step further. As Camilo Montoya-Galvez reported for CBS News, “Texas is arguing a federal judge should reject the Biden administration’s lawsuit against the border buoys it set up in the middle of the Rio Grande in part because the state has a constitutional right to repel an ‘invasion’ by migrants and cartels.” So just four years after the El Paso mass murderer killed 23 and wounded 22 based on the “invasion” conspiracy, it is now the official position of the State of Texas in a court of law that the El Paso shooter was right. 
  • The Rio Grande isn’t navigable? Citing the Bible to justify buoys, razor wire, and saw blades? Texas Republicans go to ridiculous lengths in new legal arguments. As the Houston Chronicle details in, “Republicans invoke Noah’s Ark in court to defend Greg Abbott’s border buoys,” more than “20 members of Congress want to join a federal lawsuit to help protect Gov. Greg Abbott’s buoy barrier in the Rio Grande, referencing Noah’s Ark and questioning if the river can be considered a ‘navigable waterway’ despite being the fourth largest river in North America.” That’s right, Texas Republicans are trying to argue that the Rio Grande is not navigable even after many of them have posed for pictures on machine-gun laden Texas Department of Public Safety swiftboats on that very river.  As if that wasn’t far enough, they are citing the Bible in making the claim – and defending the accompanying buoys, razor wires, and saw blades. Our GOP colleagues wouldn’t have to look far to find many passages in the Bible in support of treating strangers with kindness. 

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

“It’s disheartening to see my home state continue its descent towards extremism on immigration. Texas Republicans are a danger to public safety for all Texans, a threat to core values we cherish, and a growing laughingstock outside their right wing bubble. From embracing dehumanizing cruelty and relentless politicized ugliness to the flat-out ridiculous nature of their militarized cosplay on gun boats in the Rio Grande – which they now claim is not navigable based on something to do with Noah’s Ark. You can’t make this stuff up. 

Unfortunately, Texas Republicans are just the tip of the spear of the GOP’s larger descent on immigration – the dangerous consequences of which are visible throughout the country. Ask anyone in my hometown of El Paso if there is a real world danger to the anti-immigrant incitement of the Texas Republican Party and their national allies and they will unfortunately tell you yes. Opponents of immigration paint the borderlands inaccurately as a cartoonish war zone where people need to take up arms, but those of us who grew up there know this is mostly cynical political theatrics.”