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Next year Republican voters in Texas will decide who will be their party’s candidate for Attorney General. One of those Republicans is George P. Bush, the young Texas Land Commissioner who aims to unseat the embattled incumbent, AG Ken Paxton, and lead the lone star’s state law enforcement in 2022. Commissioner Bush, who is the latest political star of the Bush family, talked to El American about the unprecedented crisis at the border, the failure of the “Defund the Police” movement, the pro-life movement, the future of the Latino vote, and the reasons why he believes he should be the GOP candidate for Texas AG in 2022.
Commissioner Bush let’s begin, in Fiscal Year 2021, there have been 1.7 million encounters on the southwestern border. It’s an astonishing number. Currently, you are making a boots-on-the-ground tour across the border. Tell us what is happening there. Why are we seeing this crisis?
Well, frankly, it’s because of this President and his dangerous and reckless policies that have encouraged folks to not only come here illegally but have allowed border cartels and human traffickers to profit and prosper. I think we need a completely different perspective in DC and as Attorney General, I bring specific policy ideas to help secure the border, not only with wall construction but also backing law enforcement officials.
So I am really delighted to in my 5-day trip visiting law enforcement officials at all levels of government, listening, learning, and taking notes and as the next Attorney General, I hope to put a lot of those recommendations into action.
Commissioner Bush as you were saying, we need some solutions to this situation at the border. So you just talked about specific solutions. How can we fix this? What specifically would you do if elected as Attorney General for Texas to solve this crisis?
Well, a lot of it actually stems from my work already as Land Commissioner, where knowing that the Biden administration would sleep on the job, we decided to work with the governor’s office and the Texas Facilities Commission to actually construct the Texas Wall, knowing that the federal government and Biden, in particular, would stop construction of the wall.
So I’m proud to announce that about a week ago that we’re beginning about a two-mile stretch of this wall near the Rio Grande City in Stark County on state acreage, and we’re currently contracting and working with the legislature for additional funding to continue wall construction.
Secondly, as attorney general, and this is something that Ken should have been doing months ago, is for deploying a mobile prosecution unit that helps County DA’s, and County attorneys to bring state trespassing criminal charges to illegal immigrants because we know border patrol is overwhelmed with rising numbers of illegal immigrants. So the state of Texas needs the AG’s office to backstop what honorable work is being done by our Department of Public Safety through Operation Lone Star.
Third, I would say that we need to use this office as a spokesperson to do things that we did this week and that’s highlight the insecurity, the weaknesses, the vulnerabilities that we have and continue to hold the Biden administration accountable in the courthouse with successful litigation that results in secure and free neighborhoods in Texas.
Commissioner Bush, you also argue for a comprehensive solution to this crisis. How does that look like?
Well, first things first. Security is number one, we can’t have a discussion of immigration reform in DC before security is taken care of, and that’s a position that President Donald Trump had when he was president and I think that’s the right position that the Republican Party has in the nation’s capital. I do know as a state official, that the legislature and the constituents I visit every single day—not just border communities—want a secure border. That’s why you’re seeing this unprecedented operation, Operation Lone Star. It’s being led by the governor and Steve McCraw over Department of Public Safety to begin apprehending individuals that are here illegally, but doing so under state criminal trespassing law and it’s a unique initiative that’s begun and in all parts in terms of securing the border, assisting National Guard and also Border Patrol.
But where Ken Paxton, the current incumbent, is sleeping, is not helping on the legal side of this. That’s a failure of leadership, that’s not doing your job, that’s not understanding what Texans want, but here in the now, knowing that Joe Biden is in office for at least three more years with Kamala Harris, who as our borders are, decided to only come down to the border once, and she spent more time in the air in Air Force 2 than actually visiting with Border Patrol officials and law enforcement officials in Texas.
Commissioner, something that is often not mentioned is that drug cartels are the perpetrators who smuggle people through the border, making them basically human traffickers. How do you think that a secure border is also not only helpful for Texas but also helps migrants that are currently under the whims of drug cartels in Mexico?
Well, I think you’re absolutely right. It’s the cartels, the coyotes, and the smugglers that profit from this trade not only of trading narcotics—which they’ve done for generations—but leveraging those corridors and the logistical capabilities that cartels have, to now smuggle humans and to make more money doing that, than even narcotics. It’s a very lucrative trade and some estimates even put it at about you know 15 to $20 million a day that the cartels make from smuggling illegals across our border.
What that requires is the national Government that gets serious about it, there have been proposals to designate cartels as terrorist organizations, or at least enemies of the state. When you look at the child abuse, the sexual abuse, the human struggle for migrants that are subject to the whims of cartels in addition to the leverage that they place on family members of illegals who can’t afford to pay the “multa” not to travel through Mexico on the way to the border. This is unacceptable. It’s disgraceful and it’s ugly, and we’re not serious enough about it in Washington DC.
The state of Texas is going to do what it can to work with Mexican officials to disrupt the corridor patterns of cartels but make no mistake they’re controlling the corridors, controlling the game utilizing the illegal immigration for one end to allow for easier smuggling of narcotics on the other end. It’s a constant cat and mouse game that our Border Patrol are using to try to stem the tide, but they need a willing and able president and vice-president, secretary of DHS to be a willing partner and to leverage every extent of the law possible to defend our communities here in Texas.
We’ll go into another issue Commissioner, progressives spent all 2020 arguing for defunding the police, and many cities now actually reversed that decision now. So how would you support law enforcement if elected AG? What would you do right now Ken Paxton is not doing in the state of Texas?
Well, you know regretfully he can’t be a voice for law enforcement because he’s an indicted felon. I’ve looked it up and indicted felons can’t serve on juries, they can’t buy a gun, they can’t get past a background check so we can’t board a TSA line in a plane or purchase a firearm, and so you know when you’re out on criminal bond, and yet you’re claiming that you back the thin blue line, it just falls on deaf ears and law enforcement know that as an indicted felon Ken Paxton couldn’t even serve as a police officer himself, he wouldn’t be allowed as an indicted felon.
The Attorney General of the State of Texas, the top law enforcement official in our state, we need somebody that can claim the moral high ground on backing the thin blue line, stopping human trafficking, securing the border and restoring trust and integrity, and the only way that we counteract the left and the liberal progressive ideas of defunding the police and dismantling ICE and defunding Border Patrol is somebody that can claim that that moral high ground and Ken just simply can’t do that because of his own legal challenges.
So what I would do is leverage the platform of the office, every day, every night, honor our law enforcement, confront city councils that decide to defund the police overnight, as the City of Austin did, and work on legislation in the capital that defends our law enforcement. Whether that’s these crazy ideas that strip law enforcement of qualified immunity or ideas that defund the police and help pass legislation like I supported this session that takes a look at either triggering a popular vote within communities that defund the police, to get at least a second set of eyes, namely the people of Texas, have a chance to win or defunding city budgets that defund the police.
Public security is such an essential part of creating safe communities that people feel comfortable raising kids in, and regretfully in Texas, we’ve seen a spike in homicides, violent crime. And I think in part because of the Defund the Police movement.
Commissioner, abortion has been quite an issue in Texas right now. The Supreme Court is deciding over the Texas fetal heartbeat bill. So what would you do as Texas AG to protect the right to life? And what would you do that the current Texas Attorney General is not doing?
Well, I would actually win in the courts. One of my great honors of being Texas Land Commissioner is leading one of the largest pro-life rallies outside the nation’s capital, during the same legislative session that Gov. Cuomo decided to legalize partial-birth abortion all the way into late-stage pregnancies and I was reminiscing about sharing with the audience and pro-life advocates from around the state and country that thank God we live in a state like Texas, where we promote a culture of life where we say adoption is an option, and that the rights of the unborn are disrespected under the constitution and need to be protected and that’s lost on a lot of judges throughout this country.
So as attorney General, I want to lead the fight on preserving life. I’ve heard in my crystal ball, I think that the Supreme Court in June will uphold the Mississippi case or their law, the case is entitled Dobbs, that they recently heard that basically will overturn Roe V. Wade and redefined the viability of a fetus in our great country.
I remember sharing with my supporters online that you know, here we are 50 years after Roe V Wade. I, myself, am 45 years old, not sure how old you are. But that’s an entire generation plus of Americans that were terminated before birth. And you know this is going to be looked upon as a generation of genocide. But I’m very proud that it’s going to be our generation that will end abortion, that will promote a culture of life, that will say that adoption is an option, and that Texas is also leading the way.
A couple of final questions. The GOP has made significant inroads with the Latino community in the last year. You have a great deal of experience with the Hispanic community yourself, so why do you think this shift is happening? Based on your experience, what are the priorities of the Latino voter both in Texas and in the country?
Well, this is the most exciting in American politics right now, all occurring in South Texas. Last year President Trump flips several counties in the Rio Grande Valley, South Texas, including Zapata county with over 90% Hispanic population, where Spanish is a preferred language. I think what it showed is the issue of security, the issue of the Second Amendment, pro-life issues, supporting small businesses, free enterprise, and traditional conservative American values, and that’s why we saw these historic changes.
Four Republican elected mayors in the valley, all of whom actually support me in this race and, later after this interview, will visit with one of them in Donna, TX. But you know, it’s only getting better for us, because the Democrats have overplayed their hand with Joe Biden winning in November and now are promoting ideas such as open borders, taking later guns, and offending the rights of the unborn.
And what’s crazy is that after getting behind Beto for governor on the other side and leaning further left, most of the middle they’re not subscribing to the traditional values of the Democratic Party, which used to be at least reasonable on these issues, so the policies of the Biden-Harris administration are bad for our country, and we’re seeing that with the supply chain disruption, the open borders, and the economic impact that we’re seeing on everyday Americans. But what’s crazy is that they’ve decided that they’re going to double down, force an additional $1.5 Trillion and additional space thing, and hurt states like Texas which has been free and prosperous because of conservative ideas.
So I, for one, think that this momentum continues. We have great candidates, including Mayra Flores who’s running for Congress here in Cameron County, and that momentum will continue. I want to be a big part of that as the Republican nominee for Attorney General I will be able to carry on America First policies, communicate that in Hispanic communities here.
Finally, Commissioner Bush, Why should Republican voters in Texas choose you as a GOP candidate for Attorney General? What makes you different from Attorney General Ken Paxton or the other candidates who are also running in the primary.
Texans need an attorney that is not under criminal indictments, not under securities fraud charges. Someone who is going to be able to lead this agency on day one, to step into the Capitol, rebuild trust with the legislature, restore the authorities necessary to fill in gaps both in civil and criminal law.
Somebody who listens and learns from law enforcement officials throughout the state of Texas, somebody who leads with passion, with desire with a heart for service, somebody who has executive experience in the public sector, in the private sector, and also in the military, and that that’s what I bring to the table. A record of conservative accomplishment, somebody who’s been successful in the courthouse against the Obama administration and now in the courthouse against the Biden administration.
I’m ready to lead on day one. I’m excited to serve. I’m more importantly excited to be the nominee for the Republican Party, because guess what? If Ken is the nominee, Democrats get their first statewide office in close to 40 years and we can’t allow that to happen with all the conservative gains we’ve had for decades.
Daniel is a Political Science and Economics student from the University of South Florida. He worked as a congressional intern to Rep. Gus Bilirakis (FL-12) from January to May 2020. He also is the head of international analysis at Politiks // Daniel es un estudiante de Cs Políticas y Economía en la Universidad del Sur de la Florida. Trabajo como pasante legislativo para el Representate Gus Bilirakis (FL-12) desde enero hasta mayo del 2020. Daniel también es el jefe de análisis internacional de Politiks.