Washington, DC – More voices and observers are blasting Texas Gov. Greg Abbott for his cheap anti-immigrant stunts and the damaging chaos that is resulting from his choice of political optics instead of real solutions. Even some of his fellow conservatives are not pleased. Among the critics include:
- The Wall Street Journal editorial board, which wrote in “Greg Abbott’s $5 Avocados: The Texas Governor pulls a stunt that makes the border mess worse”: “…his truck inspections are costing Texans and Americans dearly while doing nothing to secure the border. Thousands of trucks are backed up at the border, and commercial traffic has dropped 60% at some ports since last week. ‘This is not solving the border problem, it is increasing the cost of food and adding to supply-chain shortages,’ says Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller. ‘Such a misguided program is going to quickly lead to $2 lemons, $5 avocados and worse.’ … The Fresh Produce Association of the Americas says that up to 80% of perishable fruits and vegetables have been unable to cross since Friday due to Texas inspections and a Mexican trucker protest against the inspections. Idled trucks are costing businesses millions of dollars a day and risk food spoilage. Supermarkets are scrambling to restock shelves … the stunt could hurt Republicans in districts along the border, where the party has been gaining support. It could also turn immigration politics more toxic and make Mexico less inclined to help at the border. Mr. Abbott is making the border problem worse…”
- Philip Bump from the Washington Post, who said in his piece “Greg Abbott eagerly fills the border-politics void left by Trump”: “A lot of attention-grabbing bluster from the incumbent governor who’s seeking reelection this year. And the details of his plan make clear that attention was the intent. The migrants who volunteered to go on the bus have already been processed by the federal government, according to Abbott’s office, and were released in accordance with standard procedure. Presumably many of them were planning to come to the East Coast anyway. And then, just to put a fine point on Abbott’s intent, there’s the issue of where the bus stopped when it arrived in D.C. on Wednesday: just outside the Fox News studio in the city. The network quickly hyped the arrival as an ‘exclusive.’ … The bus gimmick is neither the only nor the most significant part of Abbott’s effort. As those migrants zipped off to D.C., for example, trucks hoping to enter Texas from Mexico were being slowed down dramatically. Abbott implemented a policy that mandates an additional inspection by state officials after federal inspectors have cleared semis for entry. The result has been a dramatic slowdown in the transit of goods into Texas, with wait times to enter rising from about three hours to more than 12.”
- Elvia Diaz of the Arizona Republic, who wrote in her piece, “Mexican cartels are outsmarting Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s truck inspections,”: “… some of Abbott’s crackdowns are just for show, like his idea to transport migrants to Washington, D.C. That, too, turned out to be a mockery. … What Abbott has done is create a circus filled with a mix of stunts and practical crackdowns, like having state police arrest migrants on misdemeanor trespassing charges, sending thousands of National Guard troops to the border and building a wall with state dollars. Abbott’s hodgepodge policies to crack down on drugs and immigrants are surely meant to confuse voters on what’s practical and what’s just political posturing … this is about politics, not about really going after drug and human smugglers. If the latter were the case, Abbott would work with Democrats to ‘secure the border.’ Instead, Abbott is willing to hurt nearly $400 billion in trade with Mexico to stay in power.”
- The Dallas Morning News reported on voices labeling Gov. Abbott’s actions a “publicity stunt”: “Defenders of the busing have characterized it as a desperate attempt by Texas to deal with broken federal immigration policy generally and the surge of migrants expected when pandemic-related border restrictions are lifted next month. Critics, however, see a governor leaning heavily on a hot button issue to boost his re-election campaign. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki has dismissed the busing plan as a ‘publicity stunt.’ … It was not immediately clear how the drop-off point for the first bus was chosen, but social media users were quick to highlight its proximity to Republicans’ preferred cable news outlet. ‘Greg Abbott sending a bus full of migrants to Fox News HQ proves what we already know: Operation Lone Star is nothing more than a taxpayer-funded publicity stunt,’ Texas Democrats wrote on Twitter.
- The Texas Trucking Association, a business lobby that endorsed Gov. Abbott, highlighted the economic impact of Gov. Abbott’s trucking inspections stunt, noting in a statement, “As delays increase at the border, deliveries are postponed or canceled, perishable goods spoil, and grocery and retail store shelves begin to empty. Exports in Texas also await empty trucks on the Mexican side of the border and the lost revenue due to these delays will be felt by consumers as the price of goods increase across the country. We stand committed to assist Governor Abbott in pursuit of a viable solution that secures the border and enhances highway safety, while not disrupting the already tenuous supply chain with redundant security screenings.”
According to Mario Carrillo, Texas-based Campaigns Manager for America’s Voice: “Gov. Abbott’s preference for cheap, inhumane and nativist political stunts is causing chaos and economic mayhem that is driving up prices for every Texan and every American consumer. Abbott is a one person wrecking crew of the American economy.”