EDINBURG, Texas (AP) – Donald Trump won approval from the Texas governor on Sunday during a visit to a U.S.-Mexico border town and promised that its harsh immigration policy a second presidential term would make “Greg Abbott’s job a lot easier.”
“You’ll be able to focus on something else in Texas,” Trump told Abbott as they each appeared before a crowd of about 150 people in an Edinburgh airport hangar.
Abbott, a longtime ally and fellow border hawk, said he was proud to support the former president, who is the Republican Party’s front-runner for the 2024 nomination.
“We need a president who is going to secure the border,” Abbott said, speaking in a town about 30 miles from the Hidalgo port of entry with Mexico. “We need Donald J. Trump to become our President of the United States of America again.”
Earlier, Trump served meals to Texas National Guard soldiers, soldiers and others who will be stationed at the border during Thanksgiving. Trump and Abbott handed out tacos, and the former president shook hands and posed for photos.
“What you’re doing is incredible and you want it done right,” Trump told them.
Abbott said of Guard members and Texas soldiers stationed at the border: “They should not be here right now. They should be home. He said “the only reason they are here is because we have a president of the United States of America who is not protecting our border.”
Trump has outlined immigration proposals that would mark a dramatic escalation of the approach he used in office and that have sparked concern from civil rights activists and numerous legal challenges. Although Trump has peppered his campaign speeches with his immigration plans, he made only brief remarks Sunday in the border country. He spoke for only about 10 minutes against a backdrop of state police helicopters, a plane and an armed patrol boat — all being pursued by Texas at the border.
Trump did not address the policies he would pursue if elected. He complained about inflation, the 2021 US withdrawal from Afghanistan and media coverage. He said most technology besides wheels and walls eventually becomes obsolete.
“We just need the walls. And it worked,” Trump said.
His plan calls for building more of the wall along the border.
He also wishes:
- Relaunch and expand its controversial travel ban, which initially targeted seven Muslim-majority countries. Trump’s initial executive order was challenged all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which upheld what Trump called a “watered-down” version that included travelers from North Korea and some Venezuelan officials.
- Begin a new “ideological check” for all immigrants, aimed at banning “Christian-hating communists and Marxists” and “dangerous, hateful, fanatic, and maniac lunatics” from entering the United States. “Those who come and join our country must love our country,” he said.
- Cross out those who support Hamas. “If you sympathize with terrorists and radical Islamic extremists, you are disqualified,” Trump said. “If you want to abolish the State of Israel, you are disqualified. If you support Hamas or any other ideology related to that or any other really sick thoughts that are going through people’s minds – very dangerous thoughts – you are disqualified.
- Deport immigrants living in the country who harbor “jihadist sympathies” and send immigration agents to “pro-jihadist demonstrations” to identify violators. It would target foreign nationals on college campuses and revoke the student visas of those who express anti-American or anti-Semitic views.
- Invoke the Alien Enemies Act to deport all known or suspected gang members and drug traffickers from the United States. This law was used to justify internment camps during World War II. It allows the president to unilaterally detain and deport people who are not U.S. citizens.
- End the constitutional right to birthright citizenship by signing an executive order on his first day in office that would codify a legally untested reinterpretation of the 14th Amendment. Under his order, only children with at least one parent who is a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident would be eligible for a passport, Social Security number and other benefits.
- End all work permits and remove funding for housing and transportation for people who are in the country illegally.
- Crack down on legal asylum seekers and reapply measures such as Title 42which allowed Trump to turn away immigrants at the US-Mexico border on the grounds of preventing the spread of COVID-19.
- Pressure Congress to pass a law making anyone caught trafficking women or children subject to the death penalty.
- Move federal law enforcement agents, including FBI and Drug Enforcement Administration personnel, to immigration enforcement and reposition thousands of troops currently stationed overseas at the southern border . “Before we defend the borders of foreign countries, we must secure the borders of our country,” he said.
Trump has visited the border frequently as a candidate and president. During his 2016 campaign, he visited Laredo, Texas in July 2015 for a visit that highlighted how his views on immigration helped him attract media attention and support from the Republican base.
The border has also become a centerpiece of Abbott’s agenda and is the subject of a growing fight with the Biden administration over immigration. The three-term governor approved billions of dollars for the construction of a new border wall, razor wire allowed on the banks of the Rio Grande and transported thousands of migrants by bus to Democratic-run cities across the United States.
Abbott is expected to soon sign what would be one of Texas’ most aggressive measures yet: a law allowing police officers to arrest migrants suspected of entering the country illegally and gives judges the means to effectively expel them. This measure poses a significant challenge to the U.S. government’s authority over immigration. This has already drawn criticism from Mexico.
Yet the far-right Texas GOP has not always embraced Abbott. Trump posted on his social media platform earlier this year that the governor was “MISSING IN ACTION!” » after Republicans voted to impeach Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, a Trump ally. Abbott was also booed at a 2022 Trump rally.
But Abbott’s navigation within the GOP won him broad support in Texas, where he outperformed the most vocal Republicans in the election and helped the GOP make crucial inroads with Hispanic voters.
Democrats tried to use the trip to portray Trump’s plans as extreme.
“Donald Trump attacks immigrants, our rights, our security and our democracy. And that’s what was actually on the ballot last year,” Julie Chavez Rodriguez, Biden’s re-election campaign manager, said in a conference call with reporters.
Polls show many voters are not satisfied with the Biden administration’s management of the border.
A Marquette Law School survey of registered voters carried out at the end of September gave Trump a 24-point advantage over Biden in handling immigration and border security issues — 52% to 28%.