SAN JUAN, Texas (KVEO) — La Union del Pueblo Entero, also known as LUPE, held a border town hall in San Juan on Wednesday where multiple human rights organizations protested Governor Greg Abbott and Former President Donald Trump visit to the RGV.
“In the past year people have lost their homes, their jobs, lost family members, we became a national COVID hotspot and we also came through a hurricane, and where was Governor Abbott when all these things were happening?” said Denisce Palacios, campus organizer of the Rio Grande Valley’s chapter of Texas Rising.
Palacios along with other organizations that joined LUPE today said they held the town hall to bring attention to the issues that they believe matter and Abbott will not address.
“You know Governor Abbott brought Fox News and he brought Trump, so clearly he wants a lot of publicity to keep spreading his lies about our community. So, this event is an attempt to counter that,” said Dani Marrero Hi, director of advocacy and communications at LUPE.
Marrero Hi says that Trump’s policies did more harm than good for the Rio Grande Valley.
“Donald Trump precisely was separating families and so that kind of mass criminalization is only going to cause more harm and doesn’t get at the real solutions that we need,” said Marrero Hi.
Other human rights organizations like the Texas Civil Rights Project said that Abbott is using the RGV as a political tool.
“Instead of focusing on the real needs—Governor Abbott is trying to copy cat Donald Trump—those policies, they fail,” said Laura Pena, legal director of the Texas Civil Rights Project. “He’s a wanna-be, he’s a quiere ser, and guess what? We aren’t buying it.”
Palacios explained that Abbott can help the RGV by focusing on immediate needs rather than building a wall.
“The fact that our communities flood every year, that we have old infrastructure, that people are uninsured, all these things matter and should be the primary focus for the governor,” said Palacios.
However, one thing is clear to human rights groups, the RGV is not what the governor says it is.
“That the Valley is unsafe and that we need more militarization, that we need a border wall when all of that is not true,” said Palacios.