EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – El Paso County plans to send letters to Austin and Washington, D.C., decrying Texas’ treatment of migrants.
The County Commissioners’ Court on Monday unanimously authorized County Judge Ricardo Samaniego to send a letter to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott opposing the state’s policies and practices “of cruelty” towards migrants crossing the border. A second letter will be sent to the U.S. Department of Justice in support of a recent lawsuit to get Texas to remove floating barriers placed on the Rio Grande in South Texas.
“It’s important for us as a county to push back against these policies of deterrence by cruelty. It’s really what they are,” said Precinct 3 County Commissioner Iliana Holguin. “We stood up against the Trump administration when they unleashed the most horrible and draconian policies here in El Paso County. It is important we continue to do that and that our community knows we are going to continue to stand up and push back against these policies.”
Commissioners on Monday discussed news reports of Texas Department of Public Safety troopers patrolling the Rio Grande to push people back to Mexico. They also decried the placement of the buoys.
“They travel for months at a time through hazards and everything they go through. And to think that we add to that is just despicable,” Samaniego told commissioners. “They go through natural barriers coming from such a far distance [….] They survive for months and then they die here at our borders. (That) does not represent who we are as a nation or a community.”
Samaniego said he and other El Paso leaders would like to have a say on state policies regarding migrants – given that El Paso is right on the Mexican border and has an extensive record of dealing with migrant surges – but are not given a chance to be heard until after the fact.
“We encourage that (Gov. Abbott) communicates with us. We are open to communication. Actions taken without communication with border communities is not right,” Samaniego said. “In the last year or so, there has been zero communication with the (county) judge or the mayor of El Paso. It puts things in perspective that El Paso is not that important; we want to make sure that is not true.”
Border Report reached out to the Texas Governor’s Office and to Abbott’s campaign press office for comment and is awaiting a response.