Archbishop Ties Abbott to Human Trafficking
as DeSantis Rustles Migrants from Texas Gov

Capitol Inside
September 21, 2022

Relegated to the back page by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis' unsolicited bid to take over border security in the Lone Star State, Governor Greg Abbott's attempt to build support among Hispanic voters could be in peril after being linked to human trafficking this week by a high-ranking Catholic leader in the second largest Texas city.

San Antonio Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller joined a chorus of critics when he contended on Sunday that Abbott's creator would find his migrant busing plan to be detestable as a consequence of the way it feeds on people for campaign fodder.

“To use migrants and refugees as pawns offends God, destroys society and shows how low individuals can be for personal gains,” García-Siller said in a series of tweets. "These tactics - buses - promote human trafficking. We pray for conversion of heart. God protect our sisters and brothers in need.”

The scurrilous commentary from the archbishop has the potential to hurt Abbott in his goal of winning a majority of the Latino vote when he squares off with Democrat Beto O'Rourke in the general election on November 8.

But Abbott has refused to blink in the midst of criticism that's more vicious and vitriolic than any Texas governor has ever faced after busing more than 11,000 migrants to New York City, Chicago and Washington D.C. since April. He hasn't flinched when portrayed by mayors of major American cities as a phony Christian racist who's morally corrupt and obsessed with power and greed. Abbott detractors have depicted him as a man who has no integrity, character, empathy or sympathy for people who've traveled for months on foot for long stretches to escape persecution and poverty that's made lives in their homelands all but impossible to survive.

To be fair, the Texas governor's busing initiative has been tantamount to a masterpiece in legal planning compared to a copycat strategy that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis concocted with the enlistment of 48 Venezuelans at a migrant shelter in San Antonio for flights to Boston that took them to Martha's Vineyard 90 miles away last week instead.

After watching Abbott monopolize the spotlight for months with the migrant bus trips, DeSantis apparently decided that the Texas governor wasn't capable of tackling a migrant surge without help from the Sunshine State. But DeSantis managed to one-up Abbott in maximum fashion with the airplane scheme that has him facing a criminal investigation in Bexar County and charges of civil rights violations and fraud in a class-action lawsuit that the migrants he flew to Massachusetts filed on Tuesday in a federal court there.

Immigration attorneys who represent the group suing DeSantis and the Sunshine State say that the migrants on the flights to the northeast will qualify for a special green card status that's reserved for people who've been identified in court documents as victims of human trafficking. The lawsuit outlines how the people who were duped by DeSantis on Abbott's turf had fled Venezuela to escape political and religious persecution like the GOP governors claim to be against.

"Defendants and their unidentified accomplices designed and executed a premeditated, fraudulent, and illegal scheme centered on exploiting this vulnerability for the sole purpose of advancing their own personal, financial and political interests," according to the lawsuit that targets DeSantis.

The Florida governor pushed back on the allegations in a statement on Tuesday from DeSantis aide Taryn Fenske.

"If these activists spent even a fraction of this time and effort at the border, perhaps some accountability would be brought to the Biden Administration’s reckless border policies that entice illegal immigrants to make dangerous and often lethal journeys through Central America and put their lives in the hands of cartels and Coyotes," Fenske said.

Abbott in the meantime won't be expected to back off the migrant busing program regardless of what religious leaders in Texas have to say about it. The governor hasn't disputed the SA archbishop's depiction.

“Using migrants and refugees as pawns is a disgrace, a great offense to human dignity and a sinful action.” García-Siller said in a separate Twitter post. “Let us pray for our public leaders."

García-Siller relayed a message to Abbott from Rome.

“Pope Francis invites us to be more human, to encounter one another with care and respect in order to let the divine shine for the well being of people. God, we trust in you!”








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