Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is an agent of chaos.
Over the last few months, Abbott has used his office to exacerbate immigration issues in his state and across the country in the run-up to his state’s gubernatorial election in November. The Republican governor’s plan centers on creating high-profile controversies involving the border to gin up outrage, and use that outrage to his political benefit.
The strategy is three-pronged:
- Make immigration enforcement worse.
- Complain about how bad immigration enforcement is.
- Ride a wave of right-wing anger to re-election.
Abbott deliberately delayed imports entering the country through the U.S.-Mexico border, a move some in his own party criticized. He’s also responsible for Operation Lone Star, his effort to usurp the federal government’s power over immigration enforcement and grant it to state officers. The Justice Department launched an investigation into his mission, which has been widely criticized by service members in response to allegations of civil rights violations, the Texas Tribune reported earlier this month.
Abbott’s invite isn’t an immigration solution — it’s a thinly veiled threat.
But Abbott’s plan to bus migrants from the Texas-Mexico border to places run by Democrats (like New York and Washington, D.C.) is arguably his worst of all. It’s a plan that’s also been adopted by Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey. It’s cruel, a tremendous waste of money, and rests on dubious legal reasoning.
But Abbott was damn-near joyous Monday responding to some mayors’ recent objections to the busing program.
After New York City Mayor Eric Adams and Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser requested federal funding to respond to Abbott’s haphazard migration plan, Abbott publicly shared a letter inviting them to the border for a tour (read: photo op).
In his letter, Abbott claimed the border crisis was “created by President Biden” (it wasn’t) and channeled former President Donald Trump’s racist language by pinning the United States’ drug and crime problems on migrants.
“President Biden’s reckless open border policies have created a dangerous environment not only for tens of millions of Texans, but for communities all across the nation, including yours,” Abbott claimed, willfully ignoring his sole responsibility for manufacturing migration issues in both New York City and Washington. His words read like an ultimatum from a mob boss.
“I look forward to welcoming you [to] the Texas-Mexico border so that you can see this crisis for yourself,” he added. “Please contact my office to make travel arrangements for your visits.”
In recent years, conservatives have made a habit of visiting the border to incite fear over migrants — with some donning kevlar vests like extras from the movie “Tropic Thunder.” I don’t anticipate Adams or Bowser joining Abbott on a pitifully dorky excursion like that, and I don’t see a reason why they would.
Abbott’s invite isn’t an immigration solution — it’s a thinly veiled threat. A requirement to participate in his anti-immigrant charade or risk it continuing indefinitely.