Fox News host Chris Wallace pressed Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Sunday over why he didn’t point out instances of sexual abuse at migrant detention facilities in his state during previous surges during the Trump administration.
The segment began with Wallace pointing out that historic numbers of migrants attempted to cross illegally into the U.S. in March, and that the Biden administration currently has a record number of unaccompanied children in detention facilities. He went on to ask Abbott if he believes government estimates of how bad the situation could become by June are accurate and what “biggest single thing” President Joe Biden could do to ease the crisis.
The governor responded that he believes the numbers will be higher than the 35,000 the administration estimates will be in custody by then before pushing back on Wallace’s assertion that only conservatives are speaking out about the situation.
Abbott noted that Democrats, especially those who represent Texas border districts in Congress, have joined with Republicans in calling for a return to Trump-era enforcement policies as including restarting wall construction and reimplementing the ex-president’s “Remain in Mexico” agreement.
(Source: Fox News)
Wallace then shifted to a statement Abbott made last week in which he reported cases of sexual abuse at the Freeman Coliseum in San Antonio, quoting an immigrant rights group, which accused the governor of politicizing the issue instead of criticizing the fact that the abuse is taking place.
“The only reason why Abbott is now acting like he cares about the children in these facilities is for political reasons,” said the group, Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES), as noted by Wallace.
“Governor, there were thousands of complaints of sexual abuse at migrant shelters during the Trump years,” Wallace noted. “Not to say that what’s going on now is right, but we couldn’t find one instance of you complaining and calling that out when President Trump was president.”
Abbott indicated that the difference is that the previous administration was much more responsive to Texas and the migrant crises it dealt with.
“There are multiple differences between what happened in the Trump administration and what is happening now,” Abbott replied.
“First, the Trump administration remained in constant communication with me and with my office and let us know what was going on. Second, I saw reports about exactly what you’re talking about and saw that those reports were filed with federal agencies,” he noted further, adding that he was mentioning reports that had also been filed with Texas agencies entrusted with child welfare.
“And so, we have a duty to respond to any complaint about child sexual abuse in Texas as well as to investigate it, and that’s exactly what I did to make sure it was addressed,” said Abbott.
On Thursday during a press conference, Abbott blasted the San Antonio facility, where about 1,400 minors are being held.
“This facility is a health and safety nightmare,” he said. “The Biden administration is now presiding over the abuse of children. To end this abuse, the Biden administration must immediately shut down this facility.”
But when she was asked about Abbott’s statements, White House press secretary Jen Psaki indicated the administration has no intention of closing it.
“Well, first we take safety and the well-being of children in our care very seriously, hence our earlier conversation about the funding spent to keep them safe during the pandemic,” Psaki noted. “His claims will be looked into and investigated by the Department of Health and Human Services.”
But, she added: “Currently we have no basis for his call to shut down the San Antonio Freeman Coliseum as an intake site but we will of course — we take these allegations seriously and they will be investigated.”
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