Just days after winning his reelection campaign, and coinciding with Donald Trump’s announcement that he would be running for president again in 2024, Texas Governor Greg Abbott falsely declared there was an “invasion” on the Texas-Mexico border. Abbott’s supposed “invasion” is not made up of foreign armies, but of thousands of refugees and asylum seekers fleeing the effects of U.S. interference and economic exploitation.
In a Nov. 16 open letter to President Joe Biden, Abbott invoked the “invasion clause” of the U.S. Constitution, which grants states the power to keep troops and engage in war, among other powers, if “actually invaded.” Abbott claims ludicrously that “[r]anches are being ripped apart, and homes are vulnerable to intrusion.”
There is a humanitarian disaster at the border: the disaster of border militarization, which causes hundreds of deaths, and the disaster of labor exploitation as restaurants, housekeeping companies, and many day labor jobs take advantage of refugees’ immigration status to force them into less-than-minimum-wage jobs in terrible conditions.
Abbott’s pompous border announcements usually mirror a policy failure or current in the world of Texas politics, rather than any real events at the border.
In 2021, Abbott was under heavy criticism for the complete collapse of the power grid, leading to 700 deaths, and the disastrous response to COVID which sacrificed countless lives for corporate profit. Instead of solving these problems, he launched the notorious Operation Lone Star. Thousands of troops were sent out to the southern border and forced to work in unsafe conditions, dealing with cramped housing, lack of medical treatments and a lack of toilets. This led to several suicides of National Guard soldiers working on the project.
As bad as this was for the people pulled into service for Operation Lone Star, it was exponentially worse for the immigrants caught up in the system, who were subject to a parallel legal system and often detained in dehumanizing and deadly conditions for months on end. This solved no real problems for Texans struggling with hunger, homelessness, or lack of health care.
This month, just a day after the 2022 elections, Donald Trump announced his goal to run for president for a third time. As in his initial 2016 run, Trump spent much of his announcement making absurd claims about the alleged “dangers” of the border. He praised Abbott by name in his speech. Abbott, ever the opportunist, declared an invasion at the border immediately after the announcement.
Over and over again, Abbott has stoked racist violence in the form of “border invasion” rhetoric as a political maneuver, while the suffering for Texans increases. The Democrats have no answer: Joe Biden has continued most of Trump’s most anti-immigrant policies. Whatever comes of Abbott’s latest proclamation, it will surely bring more pain for refugees and no solutions to the suffering, multinational working class of Texas.