Gov. Greg Abbott says migrants not being shot because Biden ‘would charge us with murder’

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By Aarón Torres | Dallas Morning News

AUSTIN – In a wide-ranging interview with a right-wing radio host, Gov. Greg Abbott defended the scope and legality of Texas border initiatives, at one point saying: “The only thing that we are not doing as we’re not shooting people who come across the border because, of course, the Biden administration would charge us with murder.”

The comment, which Abbott made to radio host Dana Loesch on Jan. 5, emerged Thursday when it was posted by a social media account, drawing condemnation from Democrats.

After criticizing legal challenges to Texas border initiatives, Loesch asked Abbott what was the “maximum pressure” the governor could legally exert to implement a secure border.

“We are deploying every tool and strategy that we possibly can,” Abbott said before adding the comment about not shooting migrants.

Abbott’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday afternoon regarding the interview.

In the interview, Abbott defended the state’s get-tough border policies, saying “Texas has every right to step up” and lay hundreds of miles of razor wire, place deterrence buoys in the Rio Grande and deploy military and troopers along the border with Mexico. He also characterized the crush of migration as an “invasion.”

Abbott also applauded a sweeping new Texas law that allows for state and local police to arrest migrants believed to be in the state illegally.

Democrats blasted Abbott’s comments as insensitive and dangerous.

“This bloodthirsty approach to governance is dangerous not only for migrants and Texans of color – but for our entire state,” Gilberto Hinojosa, chair of the Texas Democratic Party, said in a statement.

“Apparently, federal law is the only thing keeping Greg Abbott from murdering immigrants,” U.S. Rep. Jimmy Gomez, D-Los Angeles, said on X, formerly Twitter. “What the hell is wrong with you @GovAbbott?”

Abbott, who has made border security a key campaign issue, said in the interview that his policies are working, adding that although Texas contains about 60% of the U.S.-Mexico border, “less than 40% of illegal immigrants” crossing the border do so in Texas.