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Trump Calls for Red State Troops and Right Wing Vigilantes to Side With Texas Against the United States

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Vanessa Cárdenas: “Just because the so-called target is immigrants, we cannot ignore the danger and threat it represents to our democracy.”

Washington, DC — This week, many have highlighted Donald Trump’s outsized role in scuttling the Senate’s immigration and border bill for cynical political reasons. Fewer have noticed Trump’s role in another provocation with a high level of potential to result in violence. The former president and instigator behind the January 6 insurrection is inciting potential danger and joining the escalating standoff between Texas and the federal government over access to the southern border.

Yesterday, Trump called for GOP governors to deploy National Guard troops to “remove” “illegals” and relied on the same white nationalist “invasion” conspiracy, cited by the El Paso Walmart shooter. Trump’s comments were just one of several new developments that underscore the escalating incitement and potential of right-wing violence at the border using immigrants and asylum seekers as a catalyst to oppose federal authority over international borders. For example:

  • Trump uses “invasion” as part of call to arms: Trump wrote on Truth Social, “We encourage all willing States to deploy their guards to Texas to prevent the entry of Illegals, and to remove them back across the Border” (emphasis in the original). He also noted, “In the face of this National Security, Public Safety, and Public Health Catastrophe, Texas has rightly invoked the Invasion Clause of the Constitution and must be given full support to repel the Invasion.” The legal theory, backed by the Heritage Foundation and other former Trump officials, is not widely accepted but is essentially a call to absolute states’ rights.
  • 25 Republican governors endorse Gov. Greg Abbott’s “Constitutional Right to Self-Defense” that relies on dangerous “invasion” conspiracy: On Thursday, 25 governors signed a letter in support of Texas and Gov. Abbott in the ongoing standoff between Texas and the federal government over access to the southern border, which wrests on Abbott’s claims regarding an “invasion.” As America’s Voice has highlighted, the “invasion” claim doesn’t hold up to legal scrutiny but, more disturbingly, does heighten the threat to public safety and mainstreams a white nationalist conspiracy theory that has already led to incidents of deadly violence in Texas and elsewhere.
  • Take Our Border Back rallies next week underscore the threat of militias and vigilantism at the border: A coalition of right-wing leaders and anti-immigrant activists are organizing three rallies at the border next week. A Member of Congress has been promoting this far-right rally, and there is a concern that bad actors involved could turn to violence.    

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

“It is outrageous that we have national leaders, sitting members of Congress, and governors eager to fan the flames of violence and fear. Trump may have opened the gates but now we have Republicans and media personalities actively trying to spark an armed constitutional standoff between federal authorities and state authorities. 

We cannot ignore the danger their efforts to “otherize” immigrants represent to our democracy. We must not collectively become desensitized to it. This moment is unlike anything we have seen since the standoffs about desegregation in the 1960s. Then, whether it was Eisenhower desegregating schools in Little Rock or Kennedy desegregating interstate buses, Republican and Democratic presidents agreed that federal law ought to be enforced when the Supreme Court demands it, even when southern governors oppose it. 

Republicans have long looked to deflect attention from their failings and lack of solutions, and have actively blocked efforts to build a more humane and effective immigration system. But now they are going further by mainstreaming white nationalist conspiracy theories already linked to deadly violence – all for perceived political gain.”