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Texas Gov. Greg Abbott urges congressional action on separated immigrant families: 'This disgraceful condition must end'

By Patrick Svitek

Gov. Greg Abbott is asking Texans in Congress to take bipartisan action to address the crisis of thousands of immigrant children being separated from their parents.

"This disgraceful condition must end; and it can only end with action by Congress to reform the broken immigration system," he wrote in a letter to all members of the Texas delegation, including Republican Sens. Ted Cruz and John Cornyn.

Abbott called family separations, which are the result of a Trump administration policy announced earlier this year, “tragic and heartrending.” But he also called the separations the “latest calamity children suffer because of a broken U.S. border” — and urged members to “seize” the opportunity to work across the aisle and finally fix the problem.

“Texans are not fooled by the partisan divide on this issue,” Abbott wrote in the letter, which was obtained by The Texas Tribune. “They know that even if all Republicans agree, a bill fixing the problem will not pass without Democrat support in the Senate.”

"Texans, and Americans, need our delegation, both Republicans and Democrats, to lead Congress in ending the rhetoric and ensuring results," Abbott added. "Time spent talking to microphones is time lost talking to members about solutions. You sought your office to do big things. This is your moment. Seize it."

The letter comes a few days after Abbott’s initial comments on the family separation crisis. In an interview that aired Sunday on Dallas TV, Abbott called the separations “horrible” and said they “rip everybody’s heart apart.” Abbott also echoed President Donald Trump’s criticism of Democrats for not coming to the negotiable table to deal with the separations, even though Trump has the power to end it himself.

Other Texas Republicans have made that point, including GOP House Speaker Joe Straus. The retiring speaker sent a letter to Trump on Tuesday saying “there is no need to wait for Congress to act” and the president should rescind the policy himself.

Since his television interview, Abbott has gotten pressure from Democrats to speak out against the policy. Among them has been Lupe Valdez, Abbott’s Democratic opponent, who issued a statement Tuesday accusing the governor of having “silently condoned this inhumanity.”

"A humanitarian crisis is developing in our state," the former Dallas County sheriff said, "and our Governor refuses to act."

This article originally appeared at The Texas Tribune.

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