Texas governor Greg Abbott is picking up where El Paso domestic terrorist Patrick Wood Crusius left off. Crusius drove almost 10 hours across the state to kill Mexicans. He killed 23 people at a Walmart in El Paso. Abbott has not picked up a gun to kill Mexicans, but his rhetoric about immigrants is the same hate speech that drove Crusius to murder many of us.

In June, Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov Dan Patrick labeled immigrants crossing the border as an “invasion” of America. The word invasion was also used by Crusius, in his alleged manifesto, as the justification for murdering Mexicans. Abbott’s dangerous rhetoric continues.

On July 28, 2021, Abbott issued Executive Order No. GA-37. In the order Abbott demonizes immigrants as dangerous carriers of Covid-19. Abbott wrote, “busloads of migrants, an unknown number of whom are infected with COVID-19, are being transported to communities across the State of Texas, exposing Texans to the spread of COVID-19, as has already been reported in cities like La Joya, among others.”

Abbott’s order directed the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) “to stop any vehicle upon reasonable suspicion” of providing “ground transportation to a group of migrants who have been detained by CBP for crossing the border illegally”. The federal government relies on private bus companies and non-profits to transport temporarily released undocumented immigrants to other cities for adjudication later. Abbott’s order essentially allows DPS to profile any vehicle with Hispanics on board as possibly transporting undocumented immigrants. Abbott’s order allows DPS officers to detain any undocumented immigrant found, even of already processed by federal agents and “impound” the vehicle transporting them. (Abbott Executive Order GA-37, July 28, 2021.)

The order is clearly designed to allow the profiling of Texan Hispanics and it also bolsters the erroneous illusion that migrants are a danger to Texas.

Abbott’s order not only trumps federal immigration law, but it also encourages demonizing immigrants as “dangerous” to the country. Crusius’ alleged manifesto says that the killer was “simply defending” his country from an “invasion”.

Across the nation the rise in Covid-19 infections is being blamed on immigrants. Many of them blame it on the erroneous belief that the border “is wide open”. However, much to the disappointment of many immigration advocates, the Biden administration has kept in place Trump’s Title 42 order essentially making it easier for officials to deport immigrants as soon as they are apprehended. The government’s own records show that deportations continue at a high pace.

The U.S. government’s reports show that Title 42 expulsions not only continue under the Biden administration, but they are higher than in previous months. The number of migrants deported under Title 42 in July was over 93,000, higher than in October 2020 when it was only about 63,000. Over 430,000 migrants have been deported between October 2020 and July 2021, under Title 42. (USBP Monthly Enforcement Report, accessed on August 15, 2021.)

Thus, it is wrong to suggest that the border is “wide open,” because it is not.

Not only does the border remain closed to migrants, but there is no evidence that immigrants are spreading Covid-19. The evidence, instead, suggests that the rise of Covid-19 infections are not because of migrants, but because of the low vaccine rates. In addition, infection hot spots are clustered away from the border. For example, El Paso has relatively low infection rates compared to the rest of Texas.

In addition to his order, Greg Abbott uses Twitter to spread disinformation about immigrants on the southern border. On August 10, Abbott tweeted that the Biden administration “knowingly imports COVID” into Texas.

Twitter screen capture

His August 10 tweet was a follow up to his August 6 tweet where not only does Abbott falsely accuse migrants of spreading Covid-19 but encourages more violence against migrants by people like Patrick Crusius when Abbott tweets that “Texas is stepping up to keep our communities safe,” implying that “our communities” are the Gingrich’s communities of “traditional, classic Americans”.

Twitter screen capture

The Texas governor not only is blaming immigrants for the rise in Covid-19 cases, but appears to support Newt Gingrich’s “traditional, classic American” an ideal for those that are acceptable to Texans. It is an extension of the great replacement theory espoused by white supremacists and Patrick Crusius. Abbott has also banned the teaching of The 1619 Project in Texas schools. The 1619 Project argues that America’s birth was not in 1776 but, instead in 1619 when the first slave ship arrived in the United States.

In addition to banning critical race theory education in schools, Abbot has also banned masks in Texas schools. Although Hispanics, at 39.26%, are almost as large as those who consider themselves only White (39.75%) according to the 2020 Census data, Latinos tend to be poorer. As such, Latinos likely have a greater exposure to Covid-19 in heavily dense school settings than wealthier “traditional, classic Americans” who likely can afford private schools or whose children attend wealthier school districts with access to better resources and a tendency to have lower dense populations.

Thus, Abbott’s anti-mask demand suggests a targeting of Latinos in Texas.

Patrick Wood Crusius killed Mexicans because he bought into the great replacement theory espoused by white supremacists. Greg Abbott’s continued use of dangerous rhetoric of immigrants carrying Covid-19, the border being wide open and the danger of the border only encourages other individuals like Crusius to again target Latinos in a murderous rampage.

Martin Paredes

Martín Paredes is a Mexican immigrant who built his business on the U.S.-Mexican border. As an immigrant, Martín brings the perspective of someone who sees México as a native through the experience...