Mexico’s president on Friday attacked the governor of Texas’ latest steps to crack down on unauthorized migration, saying he would urge voters of Mexican origin in the United States not to vote for “anti-immigrant” candidates.
On Thursday, Texas Governor Greg Abbott said he had authorized the National Guard and state authorities to “apprehend” migrants and transport them to ports of entry on the border with Mexico.
President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said the “immoral” policy was intended to attract support ahead of Texas’ November election, in which Abbott, a Republican, is running for re-election.
“If there’s a candidate from a party that mistreats immigrants and Mexicans, we’re going to ask our countrymen there that they don’t vote for that candidate or party,” Lopez Obrador told reporters at a regular morning news conference.
Border patrol in the United States falls under federal jurisdiction, and Abbott’s order is the latest in a showdown with Democratic President Joe Biden’s administration over migration.
Abbott’s office, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and Customs and Border Protection, which DHS oversees, did not respond to requests for comment on Abbott’s announcement. The U.S. National Guard referred questions to the Texas National Guard, which did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Lopez Obrador, who will travel to the United States to meet with Biden on Tuesday, said Abbott was overstepping his authority and expressed the view that he was “absolutely sure” the U.S. president would not approve of the Texan policy.
Undocumented immigration at the U.S.-Mexico border has been an increasingly politicized issue in bilateral relations, particularly among Republicans since former President Donald Trump’s 2015-2016 successful election campaign.
Trump caused widespread outrage in Mexico by describing migrants crossing the border as rapists and drug dealers, and Mexican officials are wary about the prospect of advances made by the Republicans in November’s midterm elections.