Speaking to a Latin American civil rights group, Nirenberg denounces the Texas GOP’s handling of migrants
Mayor Ron Nirenberg on Saturday condemned what he called “reckless” and “divisive” attacks on immigrants by Republican leaders in the state.
Speaking to more than 1,000 UnidosUS conference attendees at the Grand Hyatt hotel on Saturday, Nirenberg said the group’s progress on Latino rights was at risk of backsliding in Texas.
“Just days away from the worst migration tragedy in our country’s history…the Lieutenant Governor of Texas reminded us of that,” Nirenberg said, referring to Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick’s remarks on Fox News Tuesday claiming that Texas was “invaded”. ”
“This cynical refrain, a racist trope, targets our Hispanic and immigrant communities,” Nirenberg said. “We can’t let fanaticism become mainstream again.”
Last month, 53 migrants died in San Antonio after a truck carrying them was abandoned in the city’s southwest. Dozens of migrants were crammed inside without air conditioning or water, causing heat exhaustion and heatstroke.
“We need human political reforms, not political scapegoats,” Nirenberg said.
Nirenberg’s comments come as San Antonio opened a new migrant resource and processing center this week to help the growing number of migrants brought into San Antonio from the US-Mexico border.
The move has drawn criticism from some local Republicans, who say the city shouldn’t be involved in helping migrants. Flyers alerting party activists to the center’s opening were handed out at a GOP rally in Aggie Park Thursday night, where Bexar County Commissioner Marialyn Barnard said it was “unacceptable.”
UnidosUS, Latin America’s largest civil rights organization, is hosting its annual conference in downtown San Antonio this weekend for the first time in three years.
The mayor asked attendees to take note of the city’s approach to welcoming and helping migrants — a stark contrast to the state’s Republican leaders, who this week called on authorities to State to apprehend migrants and send them back to the border.
“San Antonio is the largest Latino-majority city in the nation, a city with an important history in our nation’s march toward justice and equal opportunity,” said Nirenberg, who highlighted the childhood of his wife Erika Prosper Nirenberg working in migrant fields.
“When you leave here, I hope you will remember that this is about facing our collective quest for fairness with compassion,” the mayor said.
Nirenberg’s office is nonpartisan. He has clashed with Republican Gov. Greg Abbott over mask mandates throughout the pandemic.
On Saturday, Nirenberg also took aim at the GOP-led legislature for passing new laws aimed at restricting voting access.
We are “seeing a rapid increase in voter suppression and redistricting in minority communities and districts designed to dilute their voting strength,” Nirenberg said. “We live in troubled times.”