Texas Democrats representing border districts slam Trump visit

The representatives of Texas's two southernmost districts on Wednesday slammed former President TrumpDonald TrumpHouse passes bill to strengthen authority of federal watchdogs Supreme Court leaves CDC eviction moratorium intact How energy will steer the Alaska Senate race MORE and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) for their visit to the region to highlight illegal immigration.

Texas Democratic Reps. Filemón Vela and Vicente González said the visit is a distraction both from the serious issues facing Texas and the positive stories of economic development in the region.

“Instead of prioritizing Texans and making sure we grow our economy and get people back to work, Governor Abbott is creating a distracting media circus with a failed former president,” said Vela, who in 2016 gained national prominence for telling then-candidate Trump to “take your border wall and shove it up your ass.”

“Let’s make one thing clear: the narrative of a violent and insecure border region is blatantly false. The border is not a war zone, and the wall Abbott and Trump are trying to get Texans to pay for is not only a waste of their hard-earned money but also an un-American symbol of hatred that separates and intimidates our communities, harms our wildlife, and encroaches on landowner rights,” added Vela.

Trump and Abbott are holding a round table meeting with a slew of local and former Trump administration officials, including former Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Mark Morgan and former acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad WolfChad WolfLawmakers slam DHS watchdog following report calling for ‘multi-year transformation' Intel heads to resume worldwide threats hearing scrapped under Trump Sunday shows preview: Democrats eye passage of infrastructure bill; health experts warn of fourth coronavirus wave MORE.

The former president's visit was timed with a congressional delegation from the conservative Republican Study Committee (RSC). 

RSC members on Tuesday night hiked into the Texas wilderness to interact with would-be asylum seekers, mostly minors, blaming President BidenJoe BidenCriminal justice group urges clemency for offenders released to home confinement during pandemic Progressive poll: Majority supports passing Biden agenda through reconciliation Transportation moves to ban airline ticket sales to Belarus amid arrest of opposition journalist MORE for “this invasion.” 

Trump's visit to the border comes as the former president has re-started his rally schedule and is touting his border management policies, including construction of the wall.

The wall has always been a contentious proposition in the Rio Grande Valley, where many Hispanic inhabitants are more conservative than Hispanics in other parts of the country, but jealously guard their property rights and their connection to cities and towns on the Mexican side of the border. 

Vela and González were particularly critical of Abbott, who has said he will build a Texas border wall as long as the federal government does not build its own. 

“Inviting the former president, who incited the January 6th insurrection in an effort to overthrow the government and prevent the peaceful transition of power, is nothing short of a slap in the face to South Texans. And wasting taxpayer dollars to promote the construction of a border wall instead of correcting the failed electrical grid  is bad leadership that is further putting Texans’ lives at risk,” said González. 

“Instead of coming down to try and divide people by misrepresenting the border community on the national stage, I urge the Governor to work together to enact meaningful policy solutions that will bring real border security,” he added, endorsing the Biden administration's approach of addressing the root causes of regional migration.

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