To the US border politicians who love Mexicans (but hate us at the same time):
You love us.
You love us not.
You love us.
You love us not.
Governor Greg Abbot, why did you sign the anti-sanctuary city law this Sunday in a surprise Facebook Live event? Senate Bill 4 not only bans sanctuary cities and campuses, but now local law enforcement can be charged with a misdemeanor for not honoring requests from immigration agents to hold immigrants who are subject to deportation. Those who violate the law are subject to civil penalties as well. Police officers are allowed to ask a person's immigration status. Immigration advocates say it is an "ask for your papers" law. We know it will endanger the relationship between police and immigrant communities, and that doesn't help anyone.
Thomas Saenz, president of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF) says the law is dangerous, will lead to racial profiling, and will alienate half the state's population. MALDEF plans to challenge the law in court. Texas has filed a pre-emptive lawsuit to get the legislation declared constitutional before the many challenges to it begin.
Why, Greg Abbott, why? I thought you loved us the way you love your Mexican American mother-in-law Maria de la Luz Segura, the daughter of immigrants, who you featured in your campaign. You say you got 40% of the Latino vote in Texas because of the one video showing the both of you together.
Recently, AG Sessions visited border cities, characterizing the border as a war zone. El Paso is "ground zero", according to the former US Senator from Alabama. City, County, and State officials quickly came to the defense of our border community, citing its low crime rate. We reacted to his military imagery because we know that in this atmosphere, we are considered “the enemy.” But Greg Abbott, you beat him to it. Back in 2013, your campaign page on immigration proclaimed
"The Front Line Of Illegal Immigration."
But I thought you loved us. How often have you bragged that your wife is the “first Hispanic First Lady” of Texas? Your Texas gubernatorial website describes Cecilia Abbott this way: “Cecilia Abbott’s story reminds us all that the American Dream is alive and well in Texas. The granddaughter of immigrants from Mexico, Cecilia was raised in San Antonio by parents who were both educators, and who instilled in Cecilia, her sister and two brothers a love of learning and helping others.” It then goes on to boast, “With her husband’s election as Governor, Cecilia made history by becoming the first Hispanic First Lady of Texas.”
The border- both cities and states-- allow for a particular kind of politician and civic leader: one who appeals to what used to be called a century ago "the Mexican vote" while still acting in ways that hurt and even devastate Mexican American communities.
These politicians protect themselves as well as appeal to ethnic Mexicans through their close association with Mexican women. For example, a century ago Mayor Tom Lea was a member of the KKK. He wore silk underwear because he believed it would keep typhus infected lice from infecting him, according to David Dorado Romo's Ringside Seat to a Revolution. One of contemporary admirers continues to tell me that he couldn't have been a member of the Klan (or been anti-Mexican) because his second wife was Mexican! Even Wikipedia enters the debate when someone going by the name “Galleryowner” disputes the characterization of Lea by two historians, Shawn Lay and David Romo. Galleryowner writes, “Shawn Lay states that Mayor Tom Lea was a member of the Ku Klux Klan without evidence. Letters to Mr. Lay for proof have gone unanswered. Mr. Romo repeats Lay's allegation, taking it further to mis-characterize Mayor Lea as having a fear of being contaminated by Mexicans. Mayor Lea's second wife, Rosita, was Mexican. Neither book is a reliable source for information on Mayor Tom Lea. - Gallery owner.” So, of course, Lea couldn’t be anti-Mexican—he had Rosita!
We have our own “love us/ love us not” millionaire in El Paso right now, too. A leader in the de-Mexicanization of our city, he is married to a Mexican woman, also a millionaire. People say, how can he be anti-Mexican? He's married to a Mexican!
And then there is US Congressman Robert O'Rourke. He may not be married to a Mexican woman, but as a child he was cared for by a Mexican woman who gave him the nickname "Beto," by which he still goes. (So the story goes.) Many are led to believe that he is part Mexican because of his use of a Mexican nickname.
Recently, the Washington Post called him a “Mexico- loving liberal.” Media reports show him in Ciudad Juarez, casually walking around the streets, recommending bars, looking at home in the Mexican border city. Few reports remind us that he introduced the Paso del Norte Group plan when he was a city representative. The plan, created in part by his millionaire bi-national developer father-in-law Bill Sanders, would demolish one of the most historic and densely populated Mexican immigrant barrios in the nation. It also called for the demolition of Duranguito, a fight we are engaged in today so that this older, mostly immigrant neighborhood won’t be destroyed.
Robert O’Rourke, I thought you loved Mexico. Oh, maybe you love Mexico, but not Mexicans.
Greg Abbott, signing SB4 tells us a lot more about whether you love us or not than your photo op with your mother-in-law. She may love you as a son-in-law, but we sure don’t love you as governor.