WASHINGTON — Rep. Tony Gonzales, R-Texas., condemned the crisis on the southern border and the inhumane treatment of migrants trying to cross into the United States, but did not blame Texas Gov. Greg Abbott in an interview Sunday.
Gonzales, whose district sits along the Texas-Mexico border, said on CBS’ “Face the Nation” that there’s “a disconnect between what’s going on at the top and the person on the ground doing the actual function.”
The Justice Department told Abbott that Texas officials have until Monday to remove a floating wall of buoys it recently approved in the Rio Grande Valley or face legal action. Along the river, barbed wire barriers were also installed on Abbott’s instructions. Critics said the barriers are inhumane and pose a danger to public safety.
Abbott scoffed at the letter, write on Twitter, “We’ll see you in court, Mr. President.”
Gonzales said “the border crisis has been anything but humane,” but added that he thinks Abbott is doing what he can to secure the border.
“I think you see how desperate the situation is in Texas,” Gonzales said, calling on fellow lawmakers to take action on the issue. “We can’t just wait for the president to sort things out. We can’t wait for governors to try to fix it themselves. Congress has a role to play in this regard.
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State troopers were reportedly ordered to push back into the water migrants trying to cross the river and deny them drinking water in extreme heat. Gonzales on Sunday criticized the treatment and said it was “not acceptable”.
“Everything that’s happening along the border just adds fuel to the fire because… you have people at the top saying one thing and people on the ground doing another,” he said.
“The governor is undoubtedly doing everything he can to secure the border,” Gonzales added, blaming lower-ranking officials.
In a letter to President Joe Biden last week, more than 80 Democratic lawmakers led by Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, called the border policies “barbaric” and “put asylum seekers at serious risk of injury and death.” The letter also targeted the floating barrier wall, which could pose an increased risk of drowning for migrants attempting to cross the Rio Grande
Gonzales said he didn’t “think the buoys were the problem” because “we saw people drown last year, there were hundreds of migrants drowning,” adding that the buoys take up a small section of the river.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: GOP lawmaker blasts treatment of migrants, doesn’t blame floating wall