HARLINGEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) — Gov. Greg Abbott and Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke are both campaigning heavily in the Rio Grande Valley.
Thursday, O’Rourke spoke with mayors from across Texas to discuss how he says he could help more than Abbott.
During their talk, O’Rourke criticized Abbott’s handling of the pandemic and his handling of the immigration situation.
“[Gov. Abbott] is not creating that order, he is creating more chaos on the border,” O’Rourke said.
Brownsville Mayor Trey Mendez was on the call with O’Rourke and is supporting O’Rourke’s election.
“I come to you today with a renewed sense of hope for the future of Texas,” Mendez told reporters. “Really looking forward to the possibility that we’re going to have a Governor who wants to be a partner not only to local leaders, but also a partner to South Texas.”
O’Rourke has routinely criticized Gov. Abbott’s leadership toward border communities and promised he would work with leaders in the area in any he could.
“Mayor Mendez mentioned that he has received all of zero telephone calls from the Governor, who pretends to be incredibly concerned about the border,” O’Rourke said, making a reference to a comment that was said in an earlier call with multiple city mayors throughout the state. “Here you have the mayor of one of the most important cities on the border, and he hasn’t heard from them.”
In a previous visit to Brownsville, O’Rourke praised the city and Mayor Mendez for their efforts to improve the immigration situation, calling them a model that other cities should look to.
He pointed to specific policies that Mayor Mendez has put in place.
“We’ve been testing to keep our communities safe; we’ve had a system in place to keep our community is safe and ensure asylum seekers are safe and given a chance to realize the American dream,” Mendez explained.
Abbott has made frequent trips to the Rio Grande Valley over the last few years. He has also criticized policies by the Biden Administration that he says are responsible for the increase in illegal immigration.
In response to those policies, Abbott has deployed 10,000 national guard troops and DPS officers to the border and ordered the construction of a state border wall on private and state-owned land that can be used to stop trespassers. Since only federal agents have authority over immigration, O’Rourke said the move is a harmful stunt.
“He takes [National Guard troops] away from their families, from their communities, from their careers, and from their jobs, where he holds up their pay,” O’Rourke said. “He cuts their earned tuition benefits in half, and where we have unfortunately and tragically seen the suicide of four of those guard members.”