Abbott pushes back against protester disrupting parental empowerment event

(The Center Square) – Texas Gov. Greg Abbott responded this week to a protestor who disrupted a parental empowerment event at the ROCK Church in Houston, Texas, saying protestors were “trying to…

(The Center Square) – Texas Gov. Greg Abbott responded this week to a protestor who disrupted a parental empowerment event at the ROCK Church in Houston, Texas, saying protestors were “trying to silence the voices of parents in this state.”

The protestor, an open borders advocate, was forcibly removed from the auditorium. Members of the audience, who were primarily Black residents of Houston, shouted, “God bless you,” and “Jesus loves you,” and gave the governor a standing ovation.

The governor spoke at the ROCK Church as part of a statewide effort he’s undertaken to explain a key legislative priority of his, school choice. A parental rights and school choice bill already passed the Senate and has yet to pass the House.

Abbott called on parents to get involved, arguing their voice mattered and they could be a part of bringing school choice to Texas.

Toward the beginning of the governor’s remarks, Cesar Espinosa, executive director of FIEL Houston, stood up and yelled, “You’re a traitor… You gotta go. You call people illegal, and they’re not. Gov. Abbott, get out!”

FIEL Houston, “an immigrant-led civil rights organization,” supports open borders and taxpayer funding of education and other services for children and adult foreign nationals who’ve entered the U.S. illegally.

Espinosa also pushed back against law enforcement who forcibly removed him from the auditorium. Law enforcement officers told The Center Square he wasn’t arrested.

Unmoved by the disruption and appreciative of the support from the audience, Abbott said, “Here’s the way this works. Here’s what they know. They are trying to silence the voices of the parents of this state.”

Several news organizations reported that Espinosa was referring to five Hondurans who were murdered last week in Cleveland, Texas, although he didn’t mention them. According to the local sheriff’s office, 10 Hondurans lived in the home. Several reports indicated nine were illegally in the country. In an official statement announcing a reward for assistance with the capture of the Mexican national who’d been previously deported, the governor’s statement said the victims were “five illegal immigrants.”

Abbott regularly publishes statements about foreign nationals who are in the U.S. and Texas illegally, in violation of federal law, referring to them as “illegal immigrants” or “migrants.”

Under 8 U.S. Code, which governs legal and illegal entry into the U.S., it is a crime to bring in and harbor certain “aliens,” which is the legal term for any person who isn’t a citizen of the United States. Title 8 states that anyone who, “knowing that a person is an alien, brings to or attempts to bring to the United States in any manner whatsoever such person at a place other than a designated port of entry or place other than as designated by the Commissioner, regardless of whether such alien has received prior official authorization to come to, enter, or reside in the United States and regardless of any future official action which may be taken with respect to such alien; knowing or in reckless disregard of the fact that an alien has come to, entered, or remains in the United States in violation of law, transports, or moves or attempts to transport or move such alien within the United States by means of transportation or otherwise, in furtherance of such violation of law; encourages or induces an alien to come to, enter, or reside in the United States, knowing or in reckless disregard of the fact that such coming to, entry, or residence is or will be in violation of law.” Depending on the type of violation, penalties vary between five and 20 years in prison.

Abbott, a former Texas Supreme Court justice and former Texas attorney general, has repeatedly called on President Joe Biden to enforce it. He’s also raised concerns about the abuse and treatment of unaccompanied minor children who have allegedly been trafficked into the U.S. through the southern border.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis was so concerned by the federal government funding and orchestrating flights of children throughout the country and into Florida that he asked the Florida Supreme Court to impanel a grand jury to investigate. The grand jury recently released part of its findings, which outline “horrible atrocities inflicted on immigrant children in Florida and elsewhere who are under the authority of the Biden administration and nonprofit organizations receiving taxpayer money,” Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody said.

Allegations from the report “include the federal government losing track of more than 20,000 children, no background checks on the minors’ sponsors, human trafficking and child abuse,” she said, which is why she’s called on Congress to investigate the alleged trafficking of children through the southern border.

Many elected officials, law enforcement officers and citizens have argued there’d be less crime involving foreign nationals in America if federal law were enforced and illegal entry was prevented and had consequences instead of encouraging it.

There’s also a movement among Texans to prohibit foreign nationals who are illegally in Texas from receiving in-state tuition at Texas colleges and universities. HB 3280, filed by Rep. Terri Leo-Wilson, R-Galveston, a retired teacher, would amend the education code to prevent those who aren’t authorized to be in the U.S. under federal statute to be considered a resident of Texas to apply for in-state tuition. Her bill has yet to be scheduled for a hearing.