On Friday, controversy surrounded Texas Governor Greg Abbott following news that a migrant child passed away on a bus headed for Chicago.
The strategy of transporting migrants to major urban areas, especially those governed by the Democratic party, has frequently been employed by Abbott to manage the migrants arriving from the U.S.-Mexico border into Texas. Abbott, from the Republican party, has defended this approach, saying it is intended to highlight the undocumented migrant situation to the Democrats, whom he believes are downplaying its significance. However, critics argue that this method is cruel, even comparing it to a form of political human trafficking.
This controversy was rekindled on Friday when it was confirmed by Texas authorities that a 3-year-old child lost his life on a bus associated with this program while on its way to Chicago, as noted by the Houston Chronicle. The specifics surrounding the child’s demise are scanty, but according to the Texas Division of Emergency Management, there were “no reported health issues” prior to the trip’s commencement.
Upon noticing the child’s deteriorating health, the bus stopped and onboard security dialed emergency services, as per the division’s statement. “When the ambulance reached the scene, bilingual security staff facilitated communication between the child’s parents and the medical team attending to him. The child was subsequently taken to a nearby hospital and was unfortunately declared dead later on.”
The news of the tragedy spread rapidly online, with numerous individuals criticizing Abbott for his treatment of migrants and particularly the transportation initiative.
On X, previously known as Twitter, Democratic strategist Sawyer Hackett remarked, “With a prior incident involving a child’s death due to his dangerous border tactics, Abbott is yet again responsible for another tragic incident involving his migrant transportation strategy. He’s accountable. Legal action should not be the only recourse; he needs to face criminal charges.”
Ben Meiselas, who co-founded the progressive political action group MeidasTouch, described the incident as heart-wrenching and slammed Abbott’s initiative as “atrocious.”
MSNBC presenter Mehdi Hasan shared on X, “I’m not certain of the number of migrant deaths required under Abbott’s supervision for us to recognize the crisis at the Texas border as a major national issue.”
In contrast, a few X participants contended that it was inappropriate to attribute the blame to Abbott and his transportation program, pointing fingers instead at the national government for its perceived leniency on border control. One commentator argued that, regardless of Texas’ initiative, the child’s demise occurred during President Joe Biden’s tenure.
Additionally, Abbott’s administration was previously in hot water after discoveries were made that barriers on the Rio Grande River meant to ward off migrants were fitted with rotary blades. The discovery of a deceased migrant in the vicinity of these barriers added to the controversy, though Texas representatives asserted the individual had died further upstream.
Abbott’s choice to install these river obstructions has attracted legal action, with the Department of Justice (DOJ) suing both the state and the governor. While the DOJ claims these barriers pose navigational hazards and have humanitarian implications, Abbott remains defiant, promising to challenge the legal action even if it escalates to the U.S. Supreme Court.