Trump looms over Texas border rally targeting illegal immigration

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Trump looms over Texas border rally aimed at illegal immigration.
QUEMADO, Texas (Reuters) – Protesters who traveled to Texas in a truck convoy this week, some of whom were flying pro-Donald Trump banners with American and Texas flags, are scheduled to march against illegal immigration along the US-Mexico border this Saturday.
On Friday night, dozens of automobiles gathered outside a Christian children’s ranch in the isolated village of Quemado, some with Trump bumper stickers and other conservative sentiments.

Border security remained a central subject, but demonstrators also carried posters criticizing the Black Lives Matter movement, and some spoke of bogus government plots like COVID-19 vaccines.

Immigration has emerged as a significant political issue in an election year that will certainly feature a rematch between Trump, a Republican, and his Democratic replacement, President Joe Biden.
Trump’s base voters have been driven by calls for more restrictive border regulations, but critics are concerned that such policies and incidents like the convoy will fuel anti-immigrant sentiment.

Trump looms over Texas border rally targeting illegal immigration

Rob Brace, a 79-year-old retired podiatrist, rode his motorbike eight hours from McAllen, Texas, to greet the convoy, citing the high numbers of illegal immigrants.
Around 8 p.m., a long line of automobiles, trucks, and campers paraded into the ranch, blasting their horns and cheering.

The “Take Our Border Back” protest began with a car convoy traveling from Virginia to Quemado, near Eagle Pass, a border crossing at the center of legal and political debates over immigration enforcement. Smaller gatherings were scheduled for Yuma, Arizona, and San Ysidro, California.

U.S. Representative Keith Self, a conservative Republican from northeast Texas, planned to speak at Saturday’s protest. It was unclear whether any more MPs or national figures would appear.

Sarah Palin, a past Republican vice-presidential candidate, and Ted Nugent, a rock singer and vocal supporter of gun rights, made an unscheduled appearance on Thursday while the caravan spent the night in Dripping Springs, Texas.
While several attendees at Thursday’s event discussed Christian beliefs, Nugent referred to Biden as a “devil-scum snake” in a caustic statement before playing the national anthem on guitar.

Organizers have described the convoy and rally as calm, but some extremism experts are concerned about the message they send.

Minnesota-based pastor Doug Pagitt attempted to attend the ranch on Friday after arriving in the area as part of a tour to combat what he calls “Christian nationalism,” but was denied access after participants warned him “you’re not wanted.”

“We want to engage,” Pagitt stated afterwards.

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Trump looms over Texas border rally targeting illegal immigration

Since Biden entered office in 2021, the number of migrants apprehended while attempting to cross the US-Mexico border has reached all-time highs. According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), migrant arrests declined by 50% in the first half of January after peaking in December.

Internal CBP records examined by Reuters revealed 216 migrant arrests on Tuesday across the Del Rio Sector, which covers a 245-mile (400-kilometer) stretch of the Rio Grande and includes Eagle Pass. Internal records reveal that by mid-December, that figure had risen to more over 4,000 daily.

U.S. authorities have cautioned that the slowdown could be seasonal, despite the Mexican government increasing inspections.

Eagle Pass has gained national attention in recent months as Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott has argued with Biden over the state’s harsh methods to prevent border crossers, which include troops, concertina wire, and a floating buoy barrier in the Rio Grande.

Abbott and 14 other Republican governors will hold a press conference in Eagle Pass on Sunday to defend the state’s border security measures.

On Friday, Reuters witnesses spotted two migrants who crossed the Rio Grande near Eagle Pass trapped in between two concertina wire barriers, shading themselves with fabric to avoid the sun.

(Reporting by Ted Hesson and Maria Alejandra Cardona in Quemado, with additional reporting by Go Nakamura in Quemado and Helen Coster in New York City; editing by William Mallard)

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