Border cruelty notwithstanding, Abbott remains a loyal Trump soldier


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.






Official silence on border cruelty is an endorsement


Some people may be offended by what I am about to say, but I don’t care. Anyone who supports a government policy of separating children from their parents at the U.S. border is motivated either by racism or an unreasonable fear of people who don’t look and talk like them. And some people would call that kind of fear a form of racism as well.

Moreover, any public official who doesn’t speak out against such a reprehensible policy is endorsing it. To my knowledge, neither Gov. Greg Abbott nor Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has said anything publicly about the policy, mostly likely for fear of offending the type of voters mentioned in the first paragraph. Or fear of angering the egomaniac in the White House who daily degrades the office to which he was elected.

Instead, Patrick, in a visit to the State Republican Convention in San Antonio over the weekend, called President Trump “awesome.”

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, the son of an immigrant, has even tried to defend the policy, apparently believing his father, who was welcomed in the United States after fleeing Cuba, was more entitled to sanctuary or a better economic opportunity than the people crossing our southern border now.

In a column in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, writer Bud Kennedy noted that the Republican delegates in San Antonio prayed for several things, including morality and decency. But, Kennedy said, they didn’t pray for the 2,000 children who already have been separated from their parents down on the border or for the hundreds of others who will be confined, without their parents, in air-conditioned tents in the desert outside El Paso. So much for morality and decency.

This treatment is cruel and will squarely place Trump, Abbott, Patrick, Cruz, et al on the wrong side of history.

“We’re behind the president because, what’s the alternative?” asked one activist in the party that allegedly promotes “family values.” (But not for everybody.)

Does she want the alternatives in alphabetical order?

Attorney General Jeff Sessions tried to use Christian scripture about honoring the government to defend breaking up families. But, remember, according to Matthew 19:14 in the King James Version of the Bible, Christ said: “Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me.”

He didn’t say, “Make them suffer.”



Pope Francis: Respect for life applies to the Dreamers


Perhaps the most interesting response to President Trump’s decision to end DACA, the immigration haven for about 800,000 young people, has come from Pope Francis. Like TSTA and milllions of Americans, the Pope believes the decision was a mistake.

Sure, the president deferred any deportation action against the so-called Dreamers for six months to give Congress time to enact legislation reauthorizing the program, but he has put the lives of these young people in limbo as they await action from a Congress that usually has difficulty even agreeing on the time of day.

Pointing out the cruelty inherent in making these Dreamers subject to deportation, Pope Francis said the decision to end the DACA program means Trump may not be as “pro-life” has he has previously claimed.

“The president of the United States presents himself as pro-life, and if he is a good pro-lifer he understands that family is the cradle of life and its unity must be protected,” the Pope said aboard his plane this week, according to news reports, as he returned to the Vatican from a trip to Colombia.

Although undocumented, these young people, including about 120,000 in Texas, were brought to the United States as infants or young children, and they consider themselves Americans because this is the only home most of them have ever known. Deporting them would break up thousands of families throughout the country.

The Pope, of course, is one of the world’s most outspoken “pro-life” or anti-abortion advocates. As president, Trump claims to be anti-abortion, although his record on that issue has not been consistent over the years.

TSTA takes stands on education, not abortion. We have members on both sides of the abortion issue, and we respect their beliefs. But TSTA wholeheartedly agrees with Pope Francis that the respect for life obviously extends to the living, all the living, including undocumented young people who are students in our schools and universities, teachers in our classrooms and productive members of our work force.





The man is basically a schoolyard bully


Rep. Matt Rinaldi of Irving did more than become the latest poster child for intolerance when he claimed to have sicced immigration agents on people who were protesting the new “sanctuary cities” law at the Capitol during the closing hours of the legislative session.

By defending a discriminatory law, he also validated the protesters’ reasons for being there – to fight discrimination and racial profiling. Rinaldi said he called immigration authorities because some of the demonstrators held aloft signs saying they were “illegal.” That may or may not have been true, but most demonstrators were law-abiding citizens who just happened to be Hispanic, the same kind of people who, under the new law, may have to provide proof of citizenship any time they are pulled over by police.

The new law will allow police to demand proof of citizenship of anyone they detain for any reason, not just people arrested for criminal activity. This is one reason the law was opposed by the police chiefs of every major Texas city.

During a tense confrontation on the House floor, Rinaldi complained of being “bullied” by Democratic legislators who defended the protesters’ right to object to the new law.

The real bullies, though, are Rinaldi and every other legislator who voted for the unnecessary and politically motivated piece of legislation that now threatens millions of Texas citizens, including school kids and their families, with potential discrimination simply because of the way they look.