Commentary: State Sen. José Rodríguez's statement on President Trump's proposal to militarize the southern border:
The President and other Republicans have manipulated the fears of Americans, many of whom know very little about life in on the border, into a potent political weapon. In his latest anti-immigrant action, Mr. Trump proposes to use the U.S. military as actors and the border as a stage to create electoral theatre in hopes of appeasing his political base. Mr. Trump is responding to a caravan of women, children, and elderly seeking refuge from violence in Central America that is working through Mexico to raise awareness of their plight. This is morally reprehensible.
We are not Russia or any other totalitarian country that uses our military domestically, against our own residents. By assigning the military to enforce domestic civil laws on immigration -- something not previously done -- he is sending a message to the world that America is no longer a beacon of hope to those in need or even a free society.
Border communities do not want the military patrolling their backyards; no American community does. In May 1997, Ezequiel Hernandez, an 18-year-old high school student, was tracked by soldiers for 20 minutes before being shot and killed while tending his family's goats in Redford, Texas. That tragedy occurred in my district, Texas Senate District 29, which has about 350 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border. The border has been secured; in fact, apprehensions on the border are at their lowest since 1971. Meanwhile, the movement of millions of residents and billions of dollars in commerce is clogged at understaffed ports of entry. That is where our focus and investment should be -- not on using the military as puppets for election year antics.
José Rodríguez represents Texas Senate District 29, which includes the counties of El Paso, Hudspeth, Culberson, Jeff Davis, and Presidio. He represents both urban and rural constituencies, and more than 350 miles of the Texas-Mexico border. Senator Rodríguez currently serves as the Chairman of the Senate Hispanic Caucus, and a member of the Senate Committees on Education; Health and Human Services; Veteran Affairs and Military Installations; Nominations; and Agriculture, Water, and Rural Affairs.