AUSTIN, Texas — Republican leaders, including Texas Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz, and Trump supporters across the state surged the southern border Friday to sound the alarms of what they are calling a national crisis.
Ironically, Texas is facing two major crises — the COVID-19 pandemic and the effects of a deadly winter storm last month — that Republicans have not addressed with the same energy or importance that they are giving to the issue of immigration.
In fact, a new report shows that at least 111 Texans died mostly from freezing to death as Gov. Greg Abbott failed to prepare and address the problems with the state’s electric grid.
In response to Republicans using the border as a backdrop to manufacture a crisis, border Democrats, Texas Democratic Party Chair Gilberto Hinojosa, non-governmental organizations and medical professionals held a virtual press conference Thursday to address the debunked myths that are being spewed by the right as they attempt to vilify asylum-seekers who are following U.S. law in asking for help.
Similarly, Congressman Joaquin Castro (TX-20) led a congressional delegation to South Texas Friday to view the situation on the ground and in the temporary detention centers.
“We need to be clear about something: President Biden inherited a situation in which the previous administration had sought to dismantle the infrastructure for processing asylum seekers and settling asylum seekers in the U.S.”, Rep. Castro said. “During the pandemic, the Trump administration took advantage of that fact and sought to expel every single person who was coming to the United States to seek asylum — which people are allowed to do around the world, not just presenting at the United States border, but at any border around the world, consistent with international law. So, the Biden Administration has tried to respect international law and United States law.”
Refugee-turned-congresswoman Ilhan Omar, (MN-05), who was granted asylum in the United States as a teenager, was a member of the delegation led by Rep. Castro. She stated that the situation at the border was “a problem that was created by an Administration that believed you had to create maximum pain in order for immigrants not to come to our border.” She went on to say that the current administration is dedicated to “employing maximum humanity and dignity in treating people in regard to our policies.”
“We also recognize, unlike Republicans, that there is a crisis happening with our neighboring countries. That is why you see the Vice President be the head of a task force that is going to address that because we can’t address migration without addressing the root causes of migration,” she added.
Texas Democratic Party Chair Gilberto Hinojosa issued a statement:
“It’s so obvious that Republicans are only coming to the border to criticize Biden after he passed one of the largest stimulus packages in American history and is helping millions of families across the country not only financially, but by having a fast and effective vaccine rollout, and for leading us out of this pandemic. Not a single Republican voted for relief for Americans and they have not been held accountable for the deadly aftermath of the winter storm failure that left over 100 Texans dead.
“President Biden is working to make sure we restore America’s role in the world as a leader in human rights while also being a nation of laws. He is picking up the pieces of an immigration system that was completely dismantled under Donald Trump who refused to do his duty and deal with masses of refugees and asylum-seekers who have followed all laws in petitioning for help in another country, as is their right under U.S. law and as a human being.”