The country’s oldest Latino civil rights group on Monday accused Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) of inciting extremists to commit acts of violence amid escalating tensions between Texas and the federal government over border management.
League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) National President Domingo García warned that Abbott’s rhetoric could incite violent bigots like the shooter who killed 23 people and injured 22 others in an El Paso, Texas, Walmart in 2019.
“False and inciteful political rhetoric from Governor Greg Abbott is agitating people to possibly commit acts of violence and mass murder. We urge our members, especially those in Texas, to be on alert for armed out-of-state extremists with a hate agenda,” said García in a statement.
The 2019 attack, a premeditated act specifically targeting Mexicans, marked a key moment for many Hispanics, who saw xenophobic rhetoric translated into violent action against their community.
García’s warning comes in the wake of reports of a group called the “Take Our Border Back Convoy” organizing rallies, starting Monday in Virginia Beach, Va., and planning convoys to Texas.
“We strongly condemn any violence as we call for everyone to be in honor and have clean hands. This convoy is meant to bring our country together in love, kindness and in peace. We call on everyone to respect our public police, sheriff’s, law enforcement, military or anyone in a public authority position,” reads the group’s declaration.
The LULAC statement released Monday makes specific reference to the convoy and reports that at least some of its organizers called themselves “God’s army.”
Abbott last week escalated a standoff with the Biden administration over border security, issuing a statement doubling down on his description of conditions along the border as an “invasion.”
The escalation followed a Supreme Court decision to allow officials with the Border Patrol, a federal agency, to cut and remove razor wire set up by Texas law enforcement agencies, including the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Texas National Guard.
“Abbott and his supporters are creating a media circus for political gain and to raise money. LULAC abhorrently condemns hate speech, actions, and lies that hurt human life, especially those coming to the United States to survive deplorable conditions and seek refuge,” said García.