I wish this, this, or this in particular had been the last of what I’d written about Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott’s politically motivated stunts, but when you have an approaching summer, a troublesome power grid, and no real policy solutions as reelection approaches, all you have are stunts.
The latest one is a claim that he’ll complete the previous president’s stupid border wall, and will order local law enforcement to begin arresting migrants who have crossed into the state. The plan has been panned as “legally dubious,” and Greg hasn’t offered much of anything to change that. But when it comes to how to pay for his wall, he apparently has an idea: donations! Because that worked out so well the last time folks tried it.
The New York Times reports that a website announced by Greg will crowdfund to help construct a border wall, though he plans to also put Texans who have no interest in a stupid wall on the hook anyway. “He said he would set aside $250 million from the state’s general revenue as a down payment,” the Times reports. The Texas Tribune reports that Democratic state Rep. Mary González said no funds were set aside by the legislature for such a project.
Will Greg try to seize land from Texas landowners for his wall? Does he even have the ability to do that? Abbott “was short on other details, saying they would emerge later,” the Times noted. Abbott has also reportedly cleared out a prison to detain immigrants as part of his supposed plan, but that too is highly questionable. “Geoffrey Hoffman, director of the University of Houston Law Center's Immigration Clinic, said the operation raises serious constitutional concerns because the state can't enforce immigration laws,” Houston Public Media reported.
We can all agree that Abbott is full of it, but his gross campaign may also spark horrific repercussions against Latinos and immigrant communities. Both the governor and the state’s lieutenant governor, the deplorable Dan Patrick, have continued to use violent rhetoric in their campaigns against immigrants. “’We are being invaded,’ Patrick said at a press conference Wednesday afternoon about Abbott’s border wall plans. ‘That term has been used in the past, but it has never been more true,’” Texas Tribune reported. “Abbott said Wednesday that ‘homes are being invaded,’” the report continued.
They’re doing this knowing perfectly well that the white supremacist terrorist who traveled hours to El Paso to target and kill Mexicans had used “invasion” rhetoric in his writings. Following that terror attack in 2019, Abbott was slammed for sending out an anti-immigrant fundraising letter just one day before the terror attack, later claiming in a non-apology that “mistakes were made.” Now he’s back at it.
“They can’t claim ignorance and say they didn’t know this language could potentially lead to violence because it happened before,” Mario Carrillo, a Texas-based organizer with advocacy group America’s Voice, told Texas Tribune. “I wish elected officials thought more about their words because those words have consequences. Are there others that read or listen to remarks like that and think, ‘Well, I don’t want our country to be invaded, so I’m going to take things into my own hands’?” In a tweet, El Paso Rep. Veronica Escobar was blunt: “If people die again, blood will be on your hands.”
“[P]olitical scientists and the governor’s critics are skeptical of Abbott’s plan, saying it’s legally and financially improbable, and more likely spurred by his own bid for reelection and possible aspirations for a 2024 presidential run,” Houston Public Media further reported. It makes the possible violent threat to immigrant and Latino communities even more despicable.