Is Greg Abbott looking to the 2024 presidential race? Quite possibly, and groan, because after trouncing Beto O’Rourke in the 2022 election by nearly one million votes, the right-wing governor is continuing his string of nativist stunts, this week officially declaring supposed powers that he claims allow him to take “unprecedented measures” to defend Texas “against an invasion.”
No one’s being invaded, and Abbott knows that. He’s instead signaling to the white nationalists who like to use this language. But just as importantly, some of the supposed powers that Abbott claims he has, like returning migrants to the border, are strictly the job of the federal government. A number of lawmakers from Texas say it's incumbent on the government to intervene.
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“As members of Congress representing the great state of Texas, we are deeply disturbed with recent comments made by the Governor of Texas suggesting he has invoked invasion authorities under the U.S. Constitution to justify the use of state resources to further militarize our southern border,” lawmakers led by former Trump impeachment manager Sylvia Garcia tell the Biden administration in a letter obtained by The Hill. They not only object to Abbott’s supposed authority, they object to his reckless, flame-throwing rhetoric.
“Legal authority aside, there is simply not an invasion happening at the border,” they continued. “Many of the immigrants arriving at our border are exercising their right to claim asylum and other forms of humanitarian relief. They are not waging war against the United States or Texas.”
It is sad that even has to be said, but Abbott has a history of signaling to violent white supremacists through his rhetoric. He knows damn well that “invasion” wording was used by the racist mass gunman who murdered Texans at a Walmart in 2019, yet he’s continued to echo that rhetoric as recently as this past summer. Greg Abbott knows exactly what he’s doing. He’s further endangering lives—even as racist mass shooters since El Paso have echoed that wording.
“Declaring an invasion under the U.S. Constitution is an incendiary and divisive idea that will certainly lead to unnecessary litigation and will encourage dangerous anti-immigrant sentiments,” lawmakers continued in their letter. “Put simply, this type of reckless stunt will only continue to put Latino communities at risk of greater violence.”
The Hill also reports that Abbott’s actions are again pissing off Mexican officials, who said in a statement that “implementation of migratory laws, border control and the negotiation of international agreements are exclusive authorities of the federal government.” Abbott already faced ire from the Mexican government during his short-lived, massively expensive flop of a stunt forcing commercial vehicles to undergo redundant checks that actually didn’t do much of any checking. Facing international blowback and massive financial losses, Abbott quickly ended the disastrous policy.
Abbott has continued his busing stunt using migrants as human props, expanding his scheme to Pennsylvania. Among those he sent to Philadelphia was a 10-year-old girl who reportedly arrived so sick with fever and dehydration that she had to be immediately hospitalized. But Greg Abbott doesn’t care.
“The Governor of Texas is taking a white nationalist conspiracy theory that has inspired multiple domestic terrorist attacks and making it official state policy by declaring migrants to be a literal invading force,” said Zachary Mueller, Political Director at America’s Voice. “In 2019, a Texas man murdered 23 people in El Paso, Texas, in an act of domestic terrorism, which he believed would stop the ‘Hispanic invasion.’ After three years and another terrorist attack in Buffalo, New York, inspired by ‘invasion’ paranoia, Gov. Abbott is fully embracing this deadly racist lie and giving it a governmental imprimatur.”
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