The Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives on Tuesday sent a letter to President Donald Trump requesting that he immediately stop taking children away from their parents at his state’s border with Mexico.
As migrants have illegally entered Texas they have been arrested by the U.S. Border Patrol and under the president’s zero tolerance policy thousands of children have been separated from their parents.
In his letter to Trump, Speaker Joe Straus makes clear that he believes the president needs to do something about the crisis right now, and that there is no reason to wait for Congress to act. He wrote:
“I know that members of Congress from both parties have proposed various ways to address this issue in the forms of legislation, and while I applaud their attention to the problem, I also know that congressional action often does not come quickly,” Straus wrote. “In order to at least begin addressing this issue, there is no need to wait for Congress to act. That’s why I respectfully ask that you move immediately to rescind the policy that General Sessions announced in April and any other policies that have led to an increase in family separations at the border.”
There has still been no response from either of the other two top-ranking Republicans who are in charge of the government of Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick.
On Monday many Texas lawmakers of both parties called on Abbott to do something for the migrant children who have been taken from their parents and incarcerated under Trump’s zero tolerance policy. But as of Tuesday morning Governor Abbott had not responded to any of these requests, at least not publicly.
Here are more excerpts from the Speaker’s letter to the president:
“You have publicly suggested that your administration may end these policies if congressional Democrats agree to some of your border security objectives and positions. But it is wrong to use these scared vulnerable children as a negotiation tool. Their suffering should also not be used to deter illegal immigration. I believe it’s important to start by halting the administration policies that have expanded forced family separations and then go about the work of reforming our immigration system and protecting public safety along the border and across our country.”
“Please listen to the growing number of Americans, faith leaders and elected officials from both parties who are voicing our concerns about this growing crisis. This is not a binary choice between rampant crime and tearing families apart. In light of potential harm being inflicted on these children and the ambiguity about their status after they’re removed from these facilities, I ask that you please immediately rescind directives that have resulted in the increase in separations of children from their migrant parents.”
Although U.S. Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz of Texas have expressed their disapproval of what Trump is doing, they have not supported legislation in the Senate that would force a stop to the enforcement of Trump’s policy. Speaker Straus is showing more courage than these men, who are afraid that getting on Trump’s bad side will result in negative tweets from the president which will hurt them politically.
It is doubtful if Donald Trump cares at all what the Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives thinks. However, the fact that the Speaker sent his letter with some very strong language is proof that Trump’s support from within the Republican Party is crumbling.
Every day it looks like the Republicans’ chances of keeping control of Congress after the midterm elections are crumbling also.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.