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Opinion: Beto can’t straddle the fence on border security

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By Ray Baca

After being rejected by voters in two unsuccessful campaigns for president in 2020 and U.S. Senate in 2018, Beto O’Rourke continues to try to claim moral high ground on policy issues — without proposing any reasonable solutions.

Ray Baca

In his recent opinion piece for this publication, Beto halfheartedly reprimanded the Biden administration for its handling of Haitian migration in Del Rio, but in the same breath, criticized Texas Republicans who went to the border to demand action. He made no mention of the 26 Republican governors who have sought an “open and constructive dialogue regarding border enforcement” with the Biden administration.  

While Beto accuses Gov. Greg Abbott of lacking leadership during the crisis, a new poll shows the governor’s approval ratings regarding border policy are up 18% over Biden’s.

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In response to the crisis at the border, Gov. Abbott recently announced $100 million in grant funding to enhance border agency operations, requested an emergency declaration for the state of Texas and signed anti-smuggling legislation into law.

Back in March, the governor also launched “Operation Lone Star” to combat the smuggling of migrants and drugs into Texas. It’s no surprise that Beto failed to mention any of these actions in his attack against the man he’s likely to run against in the 2022 gubernatorial election.

As for Beto’s policy prescriptions? Word salad nonsense. 

After labeling Title 42 a “cynical Trump-era policy,” Beto called for America to “solve the interconnected crises of failed states, climate catastrophes and the mass movement of people.” Instead of offering a solution, Beto described why Haitians have come to America and neglected to address how exactly America should respond or why the citizens of Texas should bear the brunt of that responsibility.

Beto has gone from praising Texas Democrats who staged a trip to Washington, D.C. in hopes of blocking Republican-led voter integrity legislation to condemning Texas Republicans for visiting the border during a crisis of historic proportions. Time and time again, Beto’s hypocritical allegations prove to stem from political convenience and not consistent convictions.

For all of Beto’s big talk on immigration policy, the former U.S. congressman played an insignificant role in shaping national immigration policy during his six years in Congress, nor has he been very specific when calling for a “major rewrite” of immigration laws. In fact, he’s spent more time verbally tearing down the successful policies that President Trump put in place rather than proposing any alternatives.

By saying people who live in border cities should be the “authors” of America’s border policy, Beto expediently excuses himself from offering any solutions to the current problems that exist at the border. This is deflection at its finest.

In fact, Beto has been using this tactic for years, but the truth remains the same: Beto doesn’t want to answer the tough questions — because he doesn’t have any answers.

Beto tries to appease those who are outraged at Biden’s failed policies, but Texans see through his insincere and self-interested attacks on Republican leadership. Trump-era policies, including Title 42, successfully resulted in historically low border encounters. With encounters now at the highest they’ve been in two decades, it’s common sense to reinstate the protections the Trump administration put in place. 

Throughout his political career, Beto has capitalized on vague commitments and incoherent blame-shifting. Putting his finger to the wind won’t solve the border crisis or impress voters. At the end of the day, the only thing Beto has proved to Texas voters is that he’s consistently inconsistent. Texans have rejected Beto before and will do it again if his name appears on the ballot next November.

Ray Baca is chairman of the El Paso County Republican Party.

Cover photo: Former U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke, D-El Paso, shown meeting with migrant families in Juárez in June 2018, is considering a run for Texas governor in 2022.

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