The Greg Abbott campaign released an official response to their former staffer's,”Catch an Illegal Immigrant Game,” and it's worse than you could imagine. The initial reaction was to quickly throw the troublemaker under the bus and attempt to wipe their hands of the matter telling the Texas Tribune, “despite social media profiles to the contrary, he's no longer working with Abbott.” But, as social media raised the profile of the event organized by the UT Austin chapter of the Young Conservatives of Texas, Abbott was forced to revisit the incident calling it a, “repugnant effort” in a prepared press statement.
He probably should have stopped there but he didn't, and instead allowed his response to desperately and haphazardly tailspin into a diatribe against anything that might distract potential Tea Party Republican Primary voters: abortion, Obama, Wendy Davis and even Satan worship…Yes, Satan worship. His response to a former campaign staffer holding a mock immigrant round-up at his alma mater was to change the subject. Well, he has a good reason — he has yet to take a formal position on the subject at hand, the DREAM Act.
To be thorough he said, again through a campaign spokesperson, “the objective of the program is noble…but, he believes the law as structured is flawed and it must be reformed.” From a 10 year incumbent running on a “reform” platform that answer gets a 5 star safety rating in my Blue Book. To quote his primary challenger and former Texas Republican Party Chair Tom Pauken, “He [Abbott] thinks he's going to waltz through the primaries without any debate.” Even the Texas Tribune noted his, “hyper-careful, muted approach to the hot-button issue…”
Click below the jump for the full Abbott response, what other are saying and why Abbott wishes this would just go away…Abbott will avoid talking about Immigration until March primary is over if he can help it, and a poll ironically, by the University of Texas, demonstrates why. Only 16% of self-identified Tea Party members support the law, which is also why the more competitive Lt. Governor's race has been so openly hostile to even the “objective of the program.” One of the law's original sponsors, San Antonio Senator Leticia Van de Putte, also a possible contender for Lt. Gov. as a Democrat, responded to it's critics saying, “Republicans want to fight for the Latino vote, but not for Latinos.” That is backed up by the same poll showing that most Hispanics do support the law. The situation puts Abbott in an awkward box, offend his base supporters or offend the future face of Texas.
From the Lone Star Project:
As State Attorney General, Greg Abbott played the lead role in advising the Texas Legislature to adopt redistricting plans that intentionally discriminated against Hispanic and other Texas minority voters. He has spent millions of dollars in Texas taxpayer money to defend the discriminatory plans and to argue that key US Voting Rights Act provisions designed to protect minority voters against discrimination be overturned. Most recently, Abbott has refused to support the bipartisan Dream Act which allows Hispanic students who grew up in Texas to attend Texas colleges and universities as state residents.
Wendy Davis hasn't issued an official response regarding this event but her position on the DREAM Act isn't a mystery either. According to her campaign and published by the Texas Tribune, “Sen. Davis supports the DREAM Act as written and passed by the bipartisan Texas Legislature…All Texans should have an opportunity to contribute to our growing economy, including children who were brought here through no fault of their own.”
More vocal are her student supporters with Longhorns for Wendy. The group is part of a growing protest that will counter the “game” on Wednesday and have released the following statement:
“As students, we hope for a progressive debate in Texas about our future- one in which people are not dehumanized as “illegal,” and the protesting of restricting women's access to health care is not viewed as a “shenanigan.” We stand in solidarity with the movement for immigrant rights and and condemn this shameful event organized by a former Greg Abbott field representative.” – Students for Wendy Davis
You can RSVP to the on-campus protest here.
You can follow me on Twitter at @joethepleb.
Below is the official response from the Greg Abbott campaign: