tags: Press Releases

Texas Voices Offer Reminder: Dehumanized Immigration Debate Must Also Keep Real and Affected People Front and Center

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Washington, DC – Following the horrific revelations that Texas troopers were told to push children into the Rio Grande, state voices have been among the loudest critics to denounce the actions and put it into the larger important context: in a dehumanized immigration debate, the real lives and real people affected by a broken immigration system and escalating cruelty must remain front and center.

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

“Our laws and policies should be built on our values – including basic decency, human rights, and how we treat even the most vulnerable in need. Texas values have suffered under Gov. Abbott now that the consequences of his latest political stunt have become clear. This is where the spiral of dehumanizing immigrants leads: policies that hurt people. It should remind all of us why we need to keep the humanity of the real people affected by our broken immigration system as a central part of our focus – this is an issue about real lives that is too often dehumanized and reduced to merely a focus on monthly numbers of border apprehensions or political horse race politics. Gov. Abbott and Operation Lone Star must be investigated.”

Texas voices have been decrying the revelations, calling for accountability, and focusing on the real people affected:

  • Dani Marrero Hi, Deputy Director of La Unión del Pueblo Entero: “There is no bottom to Gov. Abbott’s inhumane policies at the border. The reports are horrific— children passing out, nursing babies getting forcefully pushed into the river, denying water to people during a record-setting summer, and a woman who suffered a miscarriage while painfully caught in barbed wire placed by troops.”
  • Marisa Limón Garza, Executive Director of Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center (LAIAC): “Governor Abbott seems obsessed with hurting migrant children. Why else would he order Texas’ DPS to push innocent babies and small children back into the Rio Grande, where razor wire and buoy deployments have increased drowning and death rates? Rather than promoting public safety, Abbott’s vile vision of the border harms asylum seekers and border residents alike and consistently puts the most vulnerable at the greatest risk.
  • Carolina Canizales, Senior Texas Strategist for the Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC): “Gov. Abbott has already expanded his war on immigrants, people of color and border residents to the state’s waterways. If he is left unchecked, his example will no doubt empower other hateful governors to employ similar policies. Florida has already enacted several hateful laws.”
  • Jorge Renaud, National Criminal Justice Director and Director of the Southwest Region and Priscilla Lugo, Justice Advocate Coordinator at LatinoJustice PRLDEF: “These reports are disturbing on their face, but also because they are the natural consequence of Abbott’s recent actions in Texas. Operation Lone Star has been in full effect in Texas for over two years and the state has continued to deprive migrants of their right to seek asylum and enter the state. These policies will continue to take the lives of migrants seeking a better life. If the state is truly looking to deter migration, it would push for policies and increased capacity that would allow migrants to present themselves at ports of entry. This treatment and practice of criminalizing migration by the State of Texas MUST end.”
  • Veronica Escobar (TX-16): “[Gov. Greg Abbott] is an absolute monster with no regard for the lives of vulnerable children and mothers.”
  • Greg Casar (TX-35): “There are no words to convey how barbaric and inhumane this all is.”
  • Joaquin Castro (TX-20): “This is absolutely monstrous, inhumane policy.”
  • Sylvia Garcia (TX-29): ​​“Extreme MAGA Republicans would go Trump’s way to trap children in cages, now they’re supporting Abbott’s way on trapping children in water. I joined with my Texan colleagues to call out on this act of pure evil as it does not reflect on our real Texan values.”
  • Tony Gonzales (TX-23): “Border security should not equal a lack of humanity. As a father of six, I find it disturbing for anyone, much less a child, to be deprived of water in 100-degree weather, regardless of their immigration status … We are also a nation that believes in basic human dignity, and there is a fine line between cracking down on bad actors and issuing harsh life-threatening directives that can cause harm to children and vulnerable families.”
  • Julián Castro (Former HUD Secretary and Mayor of San Antonio): “[Gov. Greg Abbott] has made his career by persecuting people seeking a better life in America. This is awful. Exactly how much cruelty is enough?”
  • Beto O’Rourke (Former Texas Congressman): “Abbott you are a thug. A murderer. A ghoul. People are dying while you play war-games against defenseless mothers and children.”