In a letter written Tuesday to all members of the Texas delegation, Texas governor Greg Abbott pushed leaders to end the separation of families at the border and begin reforming the broken immigration system that continues to pose problems.
“Texans, and Americans, need our delegation, both Republicans and Democrats, to lead Congress in ending the rhetoric and ensuring results,” he wrote.
“Time spent talking to microphones is time lost talking to members about solutions. You sought your office to do big things. This is your moment. Seize it.”
Former Dallas County sheriff Lupe Valdez who is Abbott’s Democratic opponent, criticized the governor in a statement, which said Abbott has “silently condoned this inhumanity,” and claimed he was refusing to act.
On Tuesday, Republican state lawmaker Jason Villalba accused Abbott of being “controlled by his fealty to the president’s myopic vision of America,” adding “he is frightened like a feeble squirrel from taking action. It is time to act. NOW. Governor Abbott. Can you hear me?”
The letter written by Abbott stated that the last resort to “patch up our flawed immigration laws” is “the one provided by the Constitution: the legislative path.”
However, President Trump signed an executive order Wednesday that he says will preserve family units.
“It’s about keeping families together while ensuring we have a powerful, very strong border,” the president told reporters.
“I think the word ‘compassion’ comes into it. My wife feels strongly about it. I feel strongly about it. Anybody with a heart would feel this way.”
On Tuesday, Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) proposed a bill titled The Protect Kids and Parents Act that mandates immigrant families be kept together in order to protect children against abuse and trafficking.
“The Protect Kids and Parents Act focuses on solving the current problem: it stops family separation, except in situations where it is necessary to protect the health and well-being of the child, and doubles the number of immigration judges and expedites the process by which we handle asylum claims by families who enter our country,” Cruz stated.
“I hope that my Democratic colleagues can join with us to stop the crisis that is occurring at the border.”
However, former Department of Homeland Security Customs and Border Protection officials Nate Bruggeman and Ben Rohrbaugh wrote Wednesday that the “current proposals — whether banning family separations or expediting the legal processing of apprehended migrants — fail to address the source of the crisis.”
“The debate over how to respond has been dominated by the extremes. At one extreme are those who want migrants to be punished, ignore our obligations to asylum seekers, and see the migrants as a threat. At the other extreme are many who want anyone who arrives at the southwest border to be able to enter the United States and stay unless they subsequently commit a crime.”
According to Bruggeman and Rohrbaugh, neither of these approaches will work because they are inconsistent with the legal and humanitarian obligations of the United States.
“We should face reality: A large number of Central Americans have legitimate asylum claims and will continue to come to the United States. The U.S. government needs to allow them to do so safely and lawfully, and in a way that does not profoundly disrupt border management and security operations. Specifically, instead of waiting for refugees to show up at the border, the United States should process asylum claims in Central America and then bring people with valid claims directly to the United States.”