Editorial Roundup: Texas

Dallas Morning News. December 30, 2022.

Editorial: After Jan. 6 Committee findings, Sidney Powell is trying to save her law license

Collin County judge should deny motion by former Trump lawyer to toss state bar suit.

As the House Jan. 6 committee wrapped up its final report this month, Sidney Powell, onetime lawyer for former President Donald Trump, doubled down on her claims of election fraud in court documents filed in the State Bar of Texas’ sanctions case against her.

Despite the committee’s findings that Trump led a “multi-part” conspiracy to overturn the 2020 presidential election — a conspiracy she helped fuel — Powell is asking a local judge to toss out the State Bar’s suit, which alleges that the Dallas lawyer knowingly filed frivolous election fraud suits against the states of Michigan, Georgia, Arizona and Wisconsin.

Collin County state District Judge Andrea Bouressa is expected to decide in mid-January whether to grant Powell’s motion to dismiss the case based on her claim that the State Bar has “absolutely no evidence” to seek sanctions, including possible disbarment, against her.

In reality, there is a mountain of evidence that Judge Bouressa should not dismiss the State Bar’s case, and allow it to proceed to trial as planned in a public courtroom in April without further delays.

The bar sued Powell in March on the basis of 10 complaints it received about her. In addition to filing frivolous suits, the bar claims that Powell knowingly made false statements in the election fraud litigation.

In a document filed Dec. 12, Powell again defended her decision to sue the states, saying it was based in part on the documentary Kill Chain, which features a hacker named CyberZeist, who claimed to have influenced the 2016 election.

Court documents also show that among Powell’s planned witnesses is a Dallas technology consultant named Joshua Merritt, Powell’s once-secret source who goes by a codename “Spyder” and whose baseless claims of internationally planned voter fraud were a reason for her lawsuits.

The Jan. 6 Committee’s report noted that Powell publicly made such claims just before filing her suits. Recalling a Nov. 19, 2020, press conference, the report noted her claims of “massive influence of communist money through Venezuela, Cuba and likely China in the interference with our election here in the United States.”

Former Trump adviser Hope Hicks later told the committee under oath that even her boss laughed off the claims. On a call with Powell the next day, during which the attorney restated her conspiracy theory, Trump placed her on mute and smirked with others in the room, saying, “This does sound crazy, doesn’t it?”

While the state bar’s case is narrowly focused on whether Powell should be sanctioned for her actions, the court documents filed so far indicate the April trial is shaping up to be a mini re-do of the Jan. 6 committee’s investigation.

The public deserves to see this case play out in a courtroom, and so we hope Judge Bouressa will not grant Powell’s motion for summary judgment and will conduct the trial where real evidence, not made-up stories and bizarre conspiracies, can be put in plain view.


Houston Chronicle. December 27, 2022.

Editorial: Want to end border chaos? Bennet guestworker bill offers a way.

During his final days in office, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey stacked unsightly shipping containers along the U.S.-Mexico border at a cost of $82 million.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, up to his usual Scroogian border tricks, continued to herd asylum-seekers onto buses bound for so-called “sanctuary cities,” while dispatching National Guard troops to string concertina wire along the banks of the Rio Grande.

It’s another of his tough-guy ploys to thwart what he calls an “invasion.” Never mind that these invaders are desperate men, women and children fleeing danger and despair in places like Nicaragua and Cuba. Their desperation, after weekslong dangerous treks, has led them to El Paso, Brownsville and other border communities, where they bed down at night under thin blankets on downtown sidewalks. Such are the invaders. What’s frustrating about today’s border reality is that it doesn’t have to be this way.

Every nation has the right, indeed the obligation, to monitor and protect its borders. Our own vision of the border has evolved significantly over time, truly hardening only after the 1980s. The challenges today are in part the product of U.S. policy, both domestic and foreign. And just as we feel we have an obligation to protect the border as it stands today, we also have a moral and legal obligation to allow people to seek asylum.

For decades, Congress has considered comprehensive immigration and border reform, only to be thwarted by Tea Party Republicans in 2013 and, more recently, nativists in the tradition of Stephen Miller, former President Donald Trump’s dead-eyed anti-immigration zealot. The result is the chaos and misery we see today.

As the lame-duck session of the 117th Congress hobbles to a holiday conclusion, legislation known as the Affordable and Secure Food Act represents a modest effort to chip away at the chaos. Sponsored by U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., the bill would modify America’s primary guest worker program, commonly called H-2A, by providing visas for year-round jobs rather than only seasonal ones, while establishing a program for farmworkers and their families to earn a path to permanent residency after 10 years of work. The bill also would establish a mandatory electronic employment verification system for agricultural work nationwide.

Border reform strategy, at least since the landmark Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (known as the Simpson-Mazzoli Act), has been to take the comprehensive approach, something of a Cirque du Soleil balancing act that required passage of the total package to avoid total collapse. Alas, thinking in totality hasn’t worked, and with the House of Representatives coming under control once again of a party for the most part uninterested in effective, humane border and immigration reform, it’s time to think individual components, not the whole inter-dependent contraption. Bipartisan legislation to protect the Dreamers, proposed by U.S. Sens. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., and Kyrsten Sinema, I-Ariz., is one example, while Bennet’s bill is another.

The Colorado Democrat, representing a state with major agricultural interests, recognizes that the majority of undocumented immigrants head north for one reason: employment. American agriculture, facing a serious labor shortage, is in dire need of their skills and their willingness to do the low-paid, arduous work that most Americans spurn. U.S. farms hire more than 2 million workers each year, at least half of them probably in the country illegally. When we can’t get them, food prices rise.

“Today, America’s farmers and ranchers are short more than 100,000 workers — all across this country — to plant seeds, to pick berries, to raise cattle and do the hard, essential work of feeding this country,” Bennet said in a speech on the Senate floor last week. “It’s why growers all across America are banging down the doors of this Capitol, pleading with us, to fix the broken H-2A system for farmworkers.”

Bennet’s legislation would freeze the minimum wage for U.S. or foreign agricultural workers for 2023 and then cap wage increases for 10 years at three percent. The number of year-round visas would not exceed 26,000 for the first three years and then for the next six years would only increase annually by up to 15 percent. Responding to the insistence of American labor groups over the years, the bill would also help farmworkers secure affordable housing.

The bill incorporates several measures that Canada uses in its much more successful guest worker program. Our system, using the term loosely, is clunky and almost unworkable, not to mention vulnerable to abuse. Our neighbors to the north, in contrast, work with their Mexican, Central American and Caribbean counterparts to keep the system running smoothly. They arrange visas, coordinate round-trip travel arrangements, enforce health and safety standards and make sure that workers get paid.

Until recently, a more ambitious version of the Bennet bill had a Republican co-sponsor, U.S. Sen. Mike Crapo of Idaho. He dropped off after failing to resolve border security concerns in the legislation, and Bennet scaled down the bill. The revised version still enjoys a measure of Republican support, as well as the support of growers, business groups, immigration advocates and labor groups, including the United Farm Workers, the union founded by the legendary Cesar Chavez.

Bennet’s bill, if it passes, will do nothing at the moment to dissipate the crowds of would-be asylum seekers gathered on the banks of the Rio Grande. It’s a promising effort, nonetheless, to help clear away the troublesome weeds of border and immigration policy chaos we’ve allowed to take root. It’s also a reminder of what Govs. Abbott and Ducey could be doing if, like those agricultural workers on whom we rely, they were responsible stewards. Instead of lining the border with shipping containers and concertina wire, they could be preparing the soil and planting the seeds of reform. If they were serious about solving the border crisis, their efforts could result in a harvest of fairness, order, security and goodwill between cross-border neighbors. With this bill, a Colorado senator shows what it means to be serious.


San Antonio Express-News. December 29, 2022.

Editorial: Where was Christ in Gov. Abbott’s Christmas Eve stunt?

Let brotherly love continue.

Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.

Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity,

as being yourselves also in the body.

Hebrews 13: 1-3

In a Dec. 20 letter written by Gov. Greg Abbott to President Joe Biden denouncing the latter’s border policies, Abbott warned the president that “your inaction to secure the southern border is putting the lives of migrants at risk.” Abbott goes on to write, “Your policies will leave many people in the bitter, dangerous cold as a polar vortex moves into Texas.”

Forgive us for questioning the governor’s concern about the exposure of migrants to frigid weather when two days after writing that letter, Abbott filled three buses with migrants to send them to a clime much colder than the Texas southern border. He sent them to Washington, D.C., where it was the coldest it had been in three decades — a once-a-generation cold with record-setting readings about 25 degrees below average — the coldest Washington has been this early in the winter since it hit 5 on Dec. 22, 1989.

On Christmas Eve, the time on which the foundation of the Christian faith professed by Abbott is built, these migrants — who are seeking asylum — were left on a Washington street without adequate clothing to protect them from temperatures in the teens.

On Christmas Day, Abbott celebratorily tweeted Scripture: “For today in the city of David a Savior has been born for you who is Messiah and Lord.” Luke 2:11

Abbott continued, “May the hopeful promise of our Savior’s birth bring comfort & joy to you and your family. Merry Christmas, Texas!”

Had the governor continued reading his Bible, he’d have seen, just three verses down, Luke 2:14, which proclaims, “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”

But reading and quoting about the decency with which we treat others is easier than treating others with decency.

Political gamesmanship, and not peace and goodwill toward men, women and children is what Abbott was demonstrating when ferrying them as Christmas surprise deliveries to Vice President Kamala Harris’ residence on the grounds of the U.S. Naval Observatory.

At no time did Abbott appear to imagine the discomfort and fear of ill-clad strangers in a strange and subfreezing land being left in the streets to fend for themselves. It took people with greater moral imaginations than the governor of Texas to care for the approximately 140 travelers.

Volunteers from Migrant Solidarity Mutual Aid Network, a grassroots organization in D.C., provided warm clothing, food and shelter.

Beginning in April, Abbott has bused nearly 16,000 migrants to D.C., New York City, Chicago and Philadelphia, all cities with Democratic mayors. We know those numbers because Abbott proudly tweeted them on Christmas Day in response to criticism of his Christmas Eve delivery.

While we deplore his use of human beings as collateral for his political ambitions, our Editorial Board has supported Abbott’s busing of migrants because it provides migrants free tickets toward their destinations and it articulates the need for border reform.

But these are human beings, and treating them with dignity and care while also doing more to secure the border — a failure of both Democrats and Republicans — shouldn’t be relegated to a contest between governors like Abbott and Florida’s Ron DeSantis to show who’s more outrageous in conflating “being tough” with cruelty.

On the day celebrating his savior’s birth, Abbott wasn’t thinking about what his savior said in Luke 9:47-48: “Whosoever shall receive this child in my name receiveth me: and whosoever shall receive me receiveth him that sent me: for he that is least among you all, the same shall be great.”

If not with a warm heart, couldn’t Abbott have, at least, received them with gifts of warm clothing and blankets before sending them deeper into the “bitter, dangerous cold” of the Arctic mega-front?

The essence of Jesus’ message — the Christ in Christmas — are the gifts of love, grace and mercy. None of those gifts were present in Abbott’s decision to abandon migrants to the freezing Washington streets on Christmas Eve.