Abbott’s War

The Texas governor launches measures aimed at pushing migrants into the most inhospitable places and difficult crossing points.

“I believe we have stepped over a line into the in humane [sic],” said Nicholas Wingate, paramedic and trooper with the Texas Department of Public Safety.

On July 3, paramedic and trooper Wingate sent an email to his superiors informing them of what he was witnessing in Río Grande, Texas, on the border with Mexico: He had seen a pregnant 19-year-old migrant, injured by rolls of razor wire, “in obvious pain” and suffering a miscarriage, and a father trying to free his son who was stuck in a trap in the water.

He also recounted how he and his troop came across a group of 120 migrants and, when they reported the fact, received the order to push them all back into the river “to go to Mexico.” The troopers refused and in response were told to leave.

Wingate related an appalling fact: A mother and her two children were seen trying to survive in the water. The mother and one child were pulled out, lifeless. The second child was never found. How much more has happened that has never been reported?

After the email was reported in the press, Texas authorities denied that state police or the National Guard have orders to return migrants to the river and claim they protect the physical integrity of those who try to cross.

But it was Texas Gov. Greg Abbott himself who announced the use of floating buoys to stop migrants from crossing the river into the country.

The intervention is called Operation Lone Star, a reference to the star that flies alone on the Texas flag. Among other actions, in addition to the buoy barrier, the operation now consists of 88 miles of barbed wire along the Río Grande.

Remember the Hot Line and Guardian operations, put in place 30 years ago. In the background it’s all the same: pushing migrants into the most inhospitable and difficult places to cross.

The operation was launched in 2021 and since then has included a diverse range of actions, accompanied by political discourse with electoral intentions:

“We have to go in (as heroes) because of Biden’s open-door policy.”*

Abbott has resorted to controversial actions: declaring “disaster” in 53 border or nearby counties in order to assign military personnel to those areas.

There are more than 5,000 National Guard members assigned there, many of whom were sent by Republican governors. He has also sent busloads of 16,000 migrants to states governed by Democrats: Washington, New York, Chicago and Philadelphia, according to figures from the Texas government.

Although migration is a federal issue, state authorities have arrested migrants without formal charges and delayed assigning a lawyer for as long as possible.

Abbott wants to be a Republican U.S. presidential candidate, like Donald Trump, and seeks to make a hard stance against migrants his political platform. Abbott’s aspirations have innocent victims.

*Editor’s Note: This quote, though accurately translated, could not be verified.

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