The task force will be led by the state’s top Republicans, including Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Attorney General Ken Paxton. All of them have championed a surge of state police troopers at the border that has burned through more than $2 billion over the last five years, according to the Texas Observer. All three of them also supported Senate Bill 4, a 2017 state law that bans so-called sanctuary policies that limit cooperation between immigration authorities and local law enforcement.
More recently, they backed a state-led effort to remove thousands of naturalized immigrants from the voter rolls, contending without evidence that unauthorized immigrants might be casting illegal ballots. Multiple lawsuits forced Abbott’s administration to abandon the purge.
The fact that backers of the 2017 anti-sanctuary law are part of the mix is particularly concerning, said Claudia Muñoz of the criminal justice reform group Grassroots Leadership. Abbott should instead investigate how the law “has contributed to the culture of hate and how it can be repealed as quickly as possible,” she said.
“The governor should actually listen to communities impacted by white supremacist violence, instead appointing a panel exclusively made up of law enforcement, including people who have actively implemented policies targeting immigrants and people of color,” Muñoz said.