On Sunday, 13 Republican governors joined Trump-aligned Gov. Greg Abbott in Eagle Pass, Texas to lend their support to Abbott’s anti-immigrant campaign and his usurpation of federal authority over the border.
For more than two weeks, Texas National Guard troops have commandeered Shelby Park, a city park in the border town of Eagle Pass, from US Customs and Border Protection agents who had been using the area as a makeshift jail and processing center for immigrants. Since seizing the park, soldiers taking orders from Abbott have refused to grant US Border Patrol agents access to the facilities. The park includes a boat landing that agents had previously used to conduct water rescues of immigrants attempting to cross the sometimes treacherous waters of the Rio Grande River.
On January 22, in a 5-4 decision, the US Supreme Court ruled that Border Patrol agents had the right to cut razor wire strung by Texas authorities in order to gain access to the park or to immigrants within it. In response, Republican politicians and right-wing commentators have called on Abbott to defy the court’s decision, while numerous governors have pledged to send their own National Guard troops as well as police in support of his stand against federal authority. The Biden administration has directed Abbott to cede control of the park to the Border Patrol, which Abbott has yet to do.
Abbott was joined on Sunday afternoon by Governors Sarah Huckabee Sanders (Arkansas), Brian Kemp (Georgia), Brad Little (Idaho), Eric Holcomb (Indiana), Kim Reynolds (Iowa), Jeff Landry (Louisiana), Tate Reeves (Mississippi), Mike Parson (Missouri), Greg Gianforte (Montana), Jim Pillen (Nebraska), Chris Sununu (New Hampshire), Bill Lee (Tennessee) and Spencer Cox (Utah).
In his comments Sunday, Abbott reaffirmed that the governors were “banding together” to defend against an alleged “invasion” of immigrants. Mirroring the fascist “Great Replacement Theory” rhetoric of Trump and Republicans in Congress, who voted to advance articles of impeachment against Homeland Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas last week, Abbott accused the Biden administration of purposely “refusing” to enforce immigration laws and therefore “aiding and abetting” the “invasion” of America by “millions of people from across the globe.”
Abbott boasted that his administration, through the Texas National Guard and Operation Lone Star, had strung more than “100 miles of razor wire barrier.” He pledged to expand control of the border, but did not elaborate further.
Sunday’s press conference featuring the governors was held just before the text of a proposed bipartisan $118 billion national security supplemental bill was released by the Democratic-controlled US Senate. In order to secure Republican support in the Senate for over $80 billion in military spending for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan, President Joe Biden and Senate Democrats have agreed to sweeping attacks on the democratic rights of immigrants.
At this point, however, passage of the bill in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives remains in doubt. Likely Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has denounced the bill and called on Republicans to quash it, and House Speaker Mike Johnson has declared it “dead on arrival” in the lower legislative chamber.
The World Socialist Web Site will provide a detailed analysis of the proposed package on Tuesday. Its major provisions include billions for the US/NATO proxy war against Russia in Ukraine, billions more to enable Israel’s genocidal campaign of ethnic cleansing in Gaza (including a prohibition of US funding for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency), and billions in military aid to Taiwan, a direct provocation against China. On the home front, the bill dramatically increases the size of the border police, imposes new restrictions on the right of migrants to claim asylum, and grants the Department of Homeland Secretary and the president new authority to essentially seal the US-Mexico border, strikingly reducing immigration of any kind to the United States.
At the Texas event, Abbott’s remarks to the press were followed by statements from governors Self, Kemp, Huckabee Sanders and Gianforte, in which they thanked the fascistic Texas governor for standing up to the Biden administration and defending the country from “invasion.” Several of the governors noted that they had previously pledged troops in support of Abbott’s efforts and would do so again in the future.
Far from opposing the further militarization of the US border, Democrats have made clear they are willing to work with Republicans to strip migrants of any rights and bolster the border Gestapo in return for war funding.
Appearing on ABC’s “This Week,” House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-New York) lent his support to the supplemental package approved by the Senate and reaffirmed “Israel’s right to defend itself.”
In his interview, Jeffries did not push back on the bogus “invasion” narrative of the Republicans and stressed the willingness of the Democrats to work with the Republicans to “fix” the “broken immigration system.” Jeffries attempted to outflank Trump and the Republicans by accusing them of blocking measures to sharply increase both detention and deportation of refugees in order to gain partisan political advantage. Calling on his “Republican counterparts” to find “bipartisan common ground,” he urged passage in the House of the Senate bill to fund Washington’s expanding multi-front war abroad and its war on migrants at home.
Jeffries’ comments came less than a day after the New York Times, the unofficial press organ of the Democratic Party, published an editorial hailing Biden’s statement last week pledging to “shut down the border” the same day he signs a bipartisan national security supplemental passed by Congress. While chastising Biden and the Democrats for being “too slow to respond,” the editorial went on to praise the Republicans for “pressing for action” on the southern border
In his appearance on “Fox News Sunday,” Senator Lindsey Graham (R- South Carolina) called on Republicans to have an “open mind” on the border agreement, which he praised as a “real change in asylum, a real change in parole,” and “a real change in expedited removal.”
The governors’ appearance in Eagle Pass coincided with the final day of the fascist “Take Our Borders Back” convoy. At the same time that the governors, against the backdrop of National Guard soldiers and military equipment, were delivering anti-immigrant screeds in front of the cameras, a few hundred fascist members of the convoy backing the anti-immigrant campaign massed in Eagle Pass; San Ysidro, California; and Yuma, Arizona.
On-the-ground journalists reported that several hundred fascists, including Proud Boys and QAnon fanatics, descended on Shelby Park as part of the convoy. In response, local residents held a rally in San Juan Plaza to denounce Abbott and the militarization of the border. One resident told reporters that the arrival of the convoy was the first time she felt unsafe in the community. Many residents pointed out that they were more afraid of right-wing militias and violent Trump supporters than they were of immigrants.
On Saturday, independent journalists with News2Share interviewed neo-Nazi Ryan Sanchez at the “Take Our Border Back” rally in Yuma, Arizona. Sanchez, who was wearing a brown shirt, black tie, and black leather coat with a Totenkopf skull patch, said he had been “looking forward” to a rally against “the invasion” for “some time.”
At the San Ysidro event in California, 2022 Washington House Republican candidate Joe Kent told the few dozen fascists in attendance that “Democrats want to pump as many human beings into this country as possible” in order to “get these people ballots” as part of a “diabolical power play.” Claiming that Biden and the Democrats were working with “Communist China” and the Mexican drug cartels, Kent called for a complete government shutdown until the “invasion” was repelled.