[1/31/17] Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Tuesday embraced President Donald Trump’s proposed crackdowns on so-called “sanctuary cities” but didn’t mention the president’s recent order for a partial immigration ban as Muslim leaders and hundreds of supporters rallied outside the Capitol.
The “Texas Muslim Capitol Day” event was scheduled months ago but took on a more defiant tone — and attracted much larger turnout than usual — after Trump last week banned immigrants from seven Muslim-majority nations from traveling to the U.S. The event’s organizers said they brought private security with them for the first time because of heightened political tensions, but only a few protesters showed up to greet them.
At the same event in 2015, one Republican legislator instructed her staff to ask Muslims visiting her office to take a loyalty pledge to the U.S.
No Republicans spoke at the rally, and Democrats criticized Abbott for not using the spotlight of his State of the State address to say where he stands on Trump’s immigration ban. Abbott also didn’t mention Trump’s plan to build a wall along the border of Mexico.
“The new administration in Washington has shown the potential to finally secure the border,” Abbott said. “But as (former University of Texas football coach) Darrell Royal said: ‘Potential just means you ain’t done it yet.'”
Opposition to sanctuary cities is one area where Abbott and Trump clearly see eye-to-eye. Abbott instructed lawmakers to send him a bill by June that punishes local government that don’t cooperate with federal immigration authorities.