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Abbott’s Immigration Rhetoric Criticized After Shooting Statement

During a radio interview, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said the state has used every tool to control the border short of ordering officers to shoot migrants crossing over illegally, once again drawing concerns about the potential impact of his rhetoric about immigration, The Texas Tribune reports. “The only thing that we're not doing is we're not shooting people who come across the border, because of course, the Biden administration would charge us with murder,” Abbott told Dana Loesch, a former editor at Breitbart News and National Rifle Association spokesperson. Abbott has been criticized for his rhetoric on immigration. The day before 23 people died in a 2019 mass shooting in El Paso at the hands of a gunman who railed online about a “Hispanic invasion,” Abbott’s campaign sent out a two-page fundraising mailer that spoke in alarmist terms about the need to defend the border.

Any discussion of shooting migrants at the border is particularly sensitive after Michael Sheppard, a former warden of an immigration detention center, was accused of shooting at a group of 13 Mexican immigrants who had crossed the Texas-Mexico border through the desert. One migrant was killed and another was wounded in the September 2022 shooting in Hudspeth County. Abbott has been particularly aggressive in his approach to the border. He has deployed the Department of Public Safety and the National Guard to the region to boost security. He also obtained $1.5 billion from the state legislature to build more border barriers. In December, he signed a bill that made it a crime to cross the border between a port of entry into Texas and allowed police officers to arrest people they suspect crossed the border illegally. Abbott has said the state actions are necessary because the Biden administration is not doing enough to secure the border, noting that border crossings are on the rise.


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