Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is joining former President Donald Trump on a visit to the U.S.-Mexico border in South Texas on Wednesday.
USA Today Network Texas government and politics reporter John Moritz says the visit will serve two purposes for Abbott: addressing what he considers a growing problem of immigration and drug trafficking across the border, and drumming up support for his reelection campaign. He says the Rio Grande Valley is a good place to do that.
“The Valley, where I am today, has long been very much a Democratic stronghold,” Moritz said. “But Republicans are inching up in strength. And I think the governor realizes that, especially as his party seems to be losing a little bit of steam in the urbanized and suburbanized areas north of here.”
What’s more, Moritz says Abbott is capitalizing on what many Republicans argue are failures of the Biden administration to effectively address the country’s immigration issues. Presenting his own possible solutions, including a recent announcement that he would continue Trump’s border wall in the Valley with state money and crowdfunding, could help him build support heading into his 2022 campaign.
Moritz says Valley residents know that a border wall won’t be a “panacea” for all border or immigration issues. Still, he says they’re glad Abbott is bringing attention to the region.
Abbott and Trump aren’t the only prominent political figures to visit the border in recent days. Last week, Vice President Kamala Harris visited El Paso – a city Moritz says is much more favorable to Democrats. But he says some in the Valley wondered why she didn’t go there instead.
“People down here in the Lower Rio Grande Valley say, ‘hey, why is she not in this community where we are basically ground zero,’ as they put it, for the renewed immigration uptick?” he said.