EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) –Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s campaign called recent criticism from the president of Mexico an endorsement for gubernatorial challenger Beto O’Rourke.
Towards the end of a more-than-two-hour news conference Friday, a reporter asked Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador for his thoughts on Abbott’s executive order authorizing members of the Texas National Guard and Department of Public Safety to detain and drop off migrants at ports of entry.
Lopez Obrador called the order immoral and inhumane and a political stunt.
“Indeed, he is overstepping the limits. He is not in a position, legally, to make such a decision,” Lopez Obrador said of Abbott, adding that immigration enforcement is in the purview of the U.S. federal government.
“There are elections in November, so they’re looking to sensationalize this,” Lopez Obrador said in Spanish. “They cannot count on us because, even though we are respectful of the sovereignty of the countries, we don’t support that there are anti-immigrant campaigns for electoral purposes. I consider it immoral … political.”
On Friday afternoon, Abbott’s campaign spokesman issued a statement likening Lopez Obrador to O’Rourke, the Democratic challenger in the race for governor of Texas.
“It’s not surprising that the pro-open border President of Mexico is endorsing Beto O’Rourke, the pro-open border candidate for Texas Governor,” wrote Mark Miner, the communications director for the Texans for Abbott campaign. “While Beto O’Rourke and President López Obrador don’t believe there’s a problem at our southern border, deadly fentanyl continues to ravage communities throughout Texas and America. Governor Abbott will continue utilizing all available resources to secure our Southern border, including building the wall, deploying the Texas National Guard and DPS Troopers, and delivering illegal immigrants back to the border.”
Border Report has reached out to O’Rourke’s campaign and is awaiting a response.
Mexican politicians typically don’t meddle in U.S. politics and there is no known record of an endorsement from Lopez Obrador.
However, the Mexican president continued, saying that the immigrants who helped build “that great country” would not like this “anti-immigrant policy.”
“If there is a candidate, a party that mistreats migrants and mistreats Mexicans, we are going to ask our countrymen to help us there so that we do not vote for those parties and for those candidates,” Lopez Obrador said.
Lopez Obrador met with President Joe Biden on Tuesday in Washington, D.C. According to the Associated Press, Lopez Obrador agreed to spend $1.5 billion to improve “smart” border technology.
He also addressed the deaths of 53 migrants, most of whom were Mexican, after smugglers trapped them in a trailer in the sweltering San Antonio heat.
The deaths prompted Abbott to, again, call for state troopers to set up additional truck checkpoints on highways, which also bothered industry leaders on the Mexican side of the border.
López Obrador said both countries “should close ranks to help each other.”