Latino Texas lawmakers condemn governor for 'dangerous' tweets about immigrants

Latino Texas lawmakers condemn governor for 'dangerous' tweets about immigrants

In the weeks since a deadly mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, Latino lawmakers have come forward publicly to denounce Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) for his language that they say is "dangerous" for the state's immigrant communities.

Democratic members of the El Paso legislative delegation and the Mexican American Legislative Caucus condemned Abbott’s tweet that said the state had to “provide and fund public education for illegal immigrants."

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The "attack on a child's right to an education is immoral and infuriating, regardless of citizenship status,” the caucus said, accusing Abbot of having "demonized" the immigrant community "since day one,” NBC News reported.

“Our community is trying to heal from racially driven violence. This hurts. It is dangerous,” state Rep. Joe Moody (D-El Paso) tweeted Friday.

The rebuke of Abbott’s tweet comes weeks after a gunman opened fire, killing 22 people and injured dozens more at a Walmart in El Paso. The shooter, who allegedly wrote a white nationalist manifesto, reportedly told police he was targeting “Mexicans” and confessed to carrying out the attack when he surrendered to law enforcement.

The lawmakers' condemnation also comes amid backlash over a fundraising letter dated Aug. 2 — the day before the El Paso shooting — that urged residents to “DEFEND Texas” by taking “matters into our own hands.”

Abbott’s political mailer, which was obtained by NBC News, told supporters that “if we’re going to DEFEND Texas, we’ll need to take matters into our own hands.”

Many lawmakers, including U.S. Rep. Veronica EscobarVeronica EscobarGun epidemic is personal for lawmakers touched by violence House holds moment of silence for El Paso victims House Republicans want details on Democrats' trips to Mexico MORE (D-Texas), have come out against the letter, with Escobar tweeting Thursday that “if Greg Abbott ever wonders why there is so much hate and anger toward Mexicans and immigrants, he should take a long look at his rhetoric, policies and now his mailer.”

Rep. Rafael Anchía, chairman of the MALC, called on the governor to change his rhetoric and end his mailers and "anti-immigrant policies." 

"All Texans, including the Latino community, should feel safe in their home. Governor Abbott is instead doing the exact opposite by promoting fear," Anchía said in a statement.

The Hill has reached out to Abbott's office for comment.