Texas Governor Gregg Abbott has doubled down on his claims that there have been “illegal” immigrants from South Africa attempting to cross the US border.
In a statement shared on Twitter on Friday (30 November), Abbott claimed over 50 such immigrants have been arrested this year by the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
Texas Governor on ‘illegal’ immigrants from South Africa
“Over 50 illegal immigrants from South Africa and other South African countries under the [US President Joe] Biden travel ban have been apprehended by CBP this year, with 18 being apprehended this month alone,” the Texas Governor reiterated in a tweet.
Abbott sparked criticism from South Africans on social media earlier this week when he criticised Biden’s “hypocrisy” of imposing a travel ban on South Africa in the wake of a new COVID-19 variant.
“Biden banned travel from South Africa because of the new COVID-19 variant. Immigrants have recently been apprehended crossing our border illegally from South Africa. Biden is doing nothing to stop immigrants from South Africa entering illegally. Pure politics and hypocrisy,” he tweeted.
Many wondered how South Africans could reach the US border and attempt to cross it illegally, given that the two countries are literally in separate continents and are separated by the vast Atlantic Ocean.
A swim across the Atlantic, anyone?
Even if some did indeed try to cross via Mexico, some felt that this would be a convoluted route to take.
“This reminds me of that Miss Wherever that was asked what she thinks about Americans not being able to point out America on a world map and she said the solution is to educate South Africans. Same same,” social media user Ausi Mmabatho remarked in reply to Abbott’s tweet.
“Anyone that has the stamina and strength to swim across the Atlantic is a huge asset to our society. We should welcome them with open arms. They should immediately be offered jobs in the military or the NFL,” a US citizen added.
Immigration is one of the most controversial political issues in the US – and it assumes a whole new dimension in Texas because of its long shared border with Mexico.
The South African government has not yet commented on Abbott’s claims. Its comment will be added as soon as it’s available.
On Monday, however, President Cyril Ramaphosa slammed Western countries for imposing travel bans on South Africa in response to the Omicron variant, saying such bans are “unjustified and unscientific.”