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  • Writer's pictureJulio Ricardo Varela

On Abbott 'Not Shooting' Migrants and Other Thoughts of the Week

Updated: Jan 16

Texas Governor Greg Abbott and President Donald Trump in 2020 (Official White House Photo by Tia Dufour/Public Domain)
Texas governor Greg Abbott and President Donald Trump in 2020 (Official White House Photo by Tia Dufour/Public Domain)

I wasn't able to write a lot this week due to my current job search, but since I told myself that I should at least write more regularly, I thought that I would just share some of the pieces I have been reading this week and offer a follow of a fantastic journalist who is covering what is going on in south Texas.

First of all, anyone who is shocked about what Texas governor Greg Abbott told extreme right personality Dana Loesch last Friday (kudos to Chicago's WCPT 820 for the amplification) needs to take a serious look as to how we got here in the first place.

In case you missed it, here is what Abbott said on Loesch's show about his tough guy stance on the Texas-Mexico border: "The only thing we are not doing is, we are not shooting people who cross the border because, of course, the Biden administration will charge us with murder."

Of course, everyone with any sense is condemning these comments, but I also think it is important to acknowledge what few want to admit—we as a country have enabled this type of dangerous and violent rhetoric. Let me repeat what I said on Twitter and Threads here: This is what happens when we as a country have enabled decades of dehumanization of migrants. This is on us as a country. Mainstream has never challenged this.

This is what we have created because, in the end, our country has slept on the immigration issue. It is as simple as that. As I have argued several times under my MSNBC opinion bylines, I don't think much else can be said. We have failed as a country. Republicans were the obvious culprits. Democrats were the not-so-obvious ones. I don't think I can share another take that has basically repeated the same point for years. I also don't see the Biden administration showing any real courage on this issue, but I am sure that we will keep hearing the same broken promises as we get closer to the 2024 election. How many more times do we need to get fooled?

Did we not see it back in 1995?

Sadly, the debate during 2024 will only get more simplistic. Phrases like "illegals" are GOP campaign tenets now. The Prop 187 vibe of 1994 in California is national Republican policy. Democrats, particularly the Biden administration, have lost the immigration debate. As my friend Mike Madrid writes in an NYTimes Opinion piece this week, Biden is in a lose-lose situation. I don't see any hope.

This is why I think it is critical to go beyond Abbott's words and policies and follow coverage from actual communities in South Texas. If you make one follow today, make sure you add Pablo De La Rosa to your feed. Pablo is a freelance journalist for Texas Public Radio. He is doing the on-the-ground reporting work that reflects the communities he serves.

I also read a lot this week, and here are some recommendations. And yes, I added one podcast from my former colleagues at Latino USA, producers of a beautiful tribute to LUSA founder Maria Martin, who died last month.

The Washington Post (by Danielle Paquette and Sabrina Rodriguez, another friend of mine): Trump rhetoric, Republican candidates’ ads frighten immigrants in Iowa

Have a restful weekend. I will share more next week.

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