Gov. Greg Abbott finally was shamed into issuing a public statement, calling for an end to the Trump-sponsored child abuse down on the border, but even then he refused to be straight-forward about who was to blame.
The governor wrongly said that only Congress could end the separation of immigrant children from their parents and wrongly tried to blame Democrats for Congress’ failure to act.
Nowhere in his statement, made public yesterday, did Abbott call on President Trump to end what he called the “disgraceful condition.”
Disgraceful? The governor’s history of under-funding public education is “disgraceful.” Removing crying children from their parents and locking them up in tents and cages along the border is cruel, criminal and horrific. Many will feel the effects of their traumatization for years.
Except for brief comments in a TV appearance last weekend, Abbott avoided weighing in on the firestorm in his state until after some members of his own party began to openly wonder where he was. State Rep. Jason Villalba, a Republican from Dallas, criticized the governor’s silence on what Villalba called an “atrocity.”
“I am ashamed that my ‘so-called’ leader is so controlled by his fealty to the president’s myopic vision of America that he is frightened like a feeble squirrel from taking action,” Villalba was quoted in the Austin American-Statesman.
Abbott’s Democratic opponent, Lupe Valdez, also chimed in.
The same day Abbott finally surfaced, Trump issued his executive order ending the family separation policy. But the president still intends to lock up thousands of immigrant families – parents and children together – whose only alleged “crime” is seeking asylum and a better life.
These immigrant children will still need schooling while they are in Texas, an issue for which Trump inspires little confidence, despite a 1982 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that children, regardless of immigration status, can’t be denied educational services.
This is why TSTA has asked the governor and the state education commissioner to begin working now on a plan for educating these kids. Any plan should begin with educators being allowed into detention centers to evaluate the educational needs of the children in custody.
The federal government may or may not have the primary responsibility for providing educational services to detained immigrant children, but as long as Donald Trump is in charge the federal government will need help, lots of it.