60 Minutes Wonders If Abbott’s Border Fight Is About Secession

CBS’s Cecilia Vega recently traveled to Texas to interview Gov. Greg Abbott for a 60 Minutes profile on the state’s fight with the federal government over border enforcement. Vega immediately reached for the most hysterical explanation she could think of, asking Abbott if the dispute was about secession.

Before any questions, Vega set the scene as she narrated over some video footage:

We were on the banks of the river before dawn with soldiers from the Texas National Guard. We heard the cries of people before we could see their faces. It wasn’t until we moved closer that we realized how many people had just crossed from Mexico. The soldiers told them it was dangerous to cross here. ‘Help us,’ they begged. Some of the women cried, ‘we have children.’ We heard groans and found this young man twisting in the wire. He kept going. ‘Stay calm,’ they told each other, as families pushed their children through. Nearly everyone we saw made it across and into the United States. Thousands of people a day crossed here in late December, a record for this section of the Texas border. There were so many people, the U.S. Border Patrol had to transform Shelby Park into an open-air holding center. 

Still narrating, Vega moved on to Abbott, “Weeks later, once the surge died down, Governor Abbott ordered his Texas National Guard to block the federal government’s border patrol from entering the park without permission. Governor Abbott argued the federal government had failed to fulfill its obligation to the states. And in that, some heard echoes of Texas’ history of rebellion and threats of secession.”

Now sitting across from Abbott, she asked, “I can’t believe, governor, I’m going to ask you this question. But I’m going to ask you. Do you believe that Texas has the right to secede? Is that what we’re talking about here?”

Abbott quickly batted the idea away, “Those are false narratives. What Texas and the United States have the right to do and that’s to enforce the law.”

Vega followed up, “You heard the argument against what you’re doing out here. Each state can’t control its own border policy. You’re looking at a completely chaotic system. That’s the job of the federal government.”

Again, Abbott rejected the premise, “We’re not imposing a Texas border policy. Texas is very simply is enforcing the laws that are the policy of the United States Congress.”

The rest of the segment tried to pain the situation at the border as inherently complex and even included former Border Patrol chief Raul Ortiz criticizing Abbott and President Joe Biden, but if it is really that complex, why did Vega lead off by wasting everyone’s time by asking about secession?

Here is a transcript for the May 26 show:

CBS 60 Minutes

5/26/2024

7:06 PM ET

CECILIA VEGA: We were on the banks of the river before dawn with soldiers from the Texas National Guard. We heard the cries of people before we could see their faces. It wasn’t until we moved closer that we realized how many people had just crossed from Mexico. The soldiers told them it was dangerous to cross here. “Help us,” they begged. Some of the women cried, “we have children.” We heard groans and found this young man twisting in the wire. He kept going. “Stay calm,” they told each other, as families pushed their children through. Nearly everyone we saw made it across and into the United States. Thousands of people a day crossed here in late December, a record for this section of the Texas border. There were so many people, the U.S. Border Patrol had to transform Shelby Park into an open-air holding center. 

Weeks later, once the surge died down, Governor Abbott ordered his Texas National Guard to block the federal government’s border patrol from entering the park without permission. Governor Abbott argued the federal government had failed to fulfill its obligation to the states. And in that, some heard echoes of Texas’ history of rebellion and threats of secession.

I can’t believe, governor, I’m going to ask you this question. But I’m going to ask you. Do you believe that Texas has the right to secede? Is that what we’re talking about here?

GREG ABBOTT: Those are false narratives. What Texas and the United States have the right to do and that’s to enforce the law.

VEGA: You heard the argument against what you’re doing out here. Each state can’t control its own border policy. You’re looking at a completely chaotic system. That’s the job of the federal government.

ABBOTT: We’re not imposing a Texas border policy. Texas is very simply is enforcing the laws that are the policy of the United States Congress.

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