Sunday, 01 Oct 2023

Texas governor decried for disgusting rhetoric in wake of mass shooting

Texas governor decried for disgusting rhetoric in wake of mass shooting


Texas governor decried for disgusting rhetoric in wake of mass shooting

As he announced a reward for the capture of a 38-year-old Texas man accused of fatally shooting five people after some of them complained about his firing a rifle in his yard, the state's governor, Greg Abbott, went out of his way to describe Francisco Oropeza and those he allegedly murdered as "illegal immigrants".

The Republican's words drew ire from immigration advocates, state and federal lawmakers and other politicians as Abbott's words hewed closely with his track record of using anti-immigrant rhetoric in the wake of mass shootings.

They decried Abbott's rhetoric as dehumanizing and indicative of an attempt to deflect attention from the role Republican lawmakers played in shaping Texas's lax gun laws that Democrats say have created an unsafe environment for residents.

As of Monday, law enforcement authorities had not confirmed the immigration status of the five people killed. The victims, which included a young boy and two women who were shielding children from gunfire, were all from Honduras. Oropeza, who remained at large on Monday morning as federal and local enforcement frantically searched for him, was a Mexican national who had reportedly been previously deported from the US.

Political discussions of those facts prompted the local sheriff, Greg Capers of San Jacinto, to say they were irrelevant to investigators.

In his statements, Abbott also noted that he would tell state officials to "alert Operation Lone Star soldiers and troopers to be on the lookout for the criminal and any attempts to flee the country after taking the lives of five people". The operation, which started in 2021, enabled Abbott to declare a security crisis at Texas's border with Mexico - where crossings have risen in recent years - and deploy the state's national guard there.

Critics have decried how the operation has cost Texas taxpayers millions of dollars weekly while its participants make arrests that are physically distant from the border, not related to crimes there, and involve law enforcement agencies not directly part of Operation Lone Star, according to reporting from the Texas Tribune, ProPublica and the Marshall Project.

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