New Anti-Immigrant Hysteria in Texas


It all started at a Whataburger restaurant in La Joya, Texas, where someone saw a small group of children accompanied by adults ordering hamburgers. Some residents knew they were part of a much larger group of immigrants in the country without documentation who had been sent to a local hotel and were under the care of the Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley organization. Nothing new.

Since February, as changes slowly began with respect to Donald Trump and the Mexican government’s policy of returning all asylum seekers and persons waiting for a hearing before the U.S. immigration court to Mexico, shelters in Texas and other states have been filling up. Immigration authorities did what they used to do before Trump: rely on nongovernmental organizations to move migrants or give them temporary shelter.

The new wave of COVID-19 has provided yet another excuse to unleash the xenophobia of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who, last Wednesday, ordered his state police to begin pulling over vehicles transporting immigrants at risk of having COVID-19. The executive order allows Texas Department of Public Safety police officers to divert those vehicles on their way back to their place of origin or port of entry, or confiscate vehicles if the driver does not comply.

This is the same governor who, last week, reiterated in another executive order that he was banning all mask mandates and business restrictions. Failure to comply with the order carry fines of up to $1000. This, in the middle of a third wave of COVID-19, in a state where vaccination percentage rates among adults over 18 are below the national average, and not by a little. The Whataburger incident was exploited by Trump-supporting, right-wing national media like Fox News. The narrative for those fanatics was simple: Joe Biden’s “new” policy of “open borders” (as they falsely put it), was bringing in not only immigrants, but COVID-19. And the Texas governor was the only one doing something to put an end to it. Politicized hysteria.

What is Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard up to, by the way?

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About Lisa Carrington 61 Articles
Lisa is a freelance translator in English, Spanish and Portuguese. She has a BA in Spanish for Translation and Portuguese and is a Member of the Chartered Institute of Linguists. She is passionate about languages, specifically translation.

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