Quick Takes

Decrying ‘pick-a-side politics,’ Beshear responds to GOP calls for him to support Texas governor’s border stand

By: - January 30, 2024 4:24 pm

Reps. Richard Heath, R-Mayfield, and Rebecca Raymer, R-Morgantown, prepare to present a resolution in support of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott to the House State Government Committee. (Kentucky Lantern photo by Jamie Lucke)

FRANKFORT — Responding to Republican calls for him to support Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s immigration crackdown, Gov. Andy Beshear on Tuesday praised the 850 Kentucky National Guard members who have served at the southern border, saying they “answered the call of our country, not the clamor of the latest political outrage.” 

Declaring Kentuckians “exhausted with this constant ‘us-versus-them,’” Beshear also raised concerns that GOP resolutions supporting Abbott “are based on a legal theory that was previously used to support secession.”

Republican lawmakers have introduced resolutions in both Kentucky chambers calling on Beshear to voice support for his Republican counterpart in Texas who has blocked the U.S. Border Patrol from entering an area in Eagle Pass, Texas. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that the Biden administration has the authority to remove razor wire that was installed under Abbott’s orders.

Kentucky Republicans lining up with Texas governor in border fight with Biden

Around the country, Republican governors, attorneys general and lawmakers are intensifying their criticism of Democratic President Joe Biden’s handling of the border at the same time former President Donald Trump, the frontrunner for the GOP presidential nomination, is trying to kill a bipartisan agreement being negotiated in the U.S. Senate that would link tougher immigration laws and aid to Ukraine. 

Abbott and his supporters assert  the federal government under Biden “has broken the compact with the states,” the so-called “nullification” doctrine that states used to justify seceding from the United States and starting the Civil War.

A surge of immigrants traveling through Mexico from around the world and seeking asylum in the U.S. has strained the Border Patrol, the capacities of cities to shelter migrants and an immigration system that has gone decades without reform by Congress.

A House committee on Tuesday voted 15-3 to advance a resolution urging Beshear to support Abbott in his efforts to stop what Republicans called an “invasion” of migrants and a threat to Kentucky.

A few hours later, the House approved Rep. Richard Heath’s House Resolution 57, by a 77-17 vote.

In committee, Rep. Rebecca Raymer, R-Morgantown, one of HR 57’s sponsors, said “this is not political theater, this is a true sincere urging” of Beshear to “state support” for Texas. 

Rep. David Hale, chairman of the State Government Committee, said Kentuckians are contacting lawmakers urging them to “do something to support the state of Texas.” Hale also stressed the resolution would not have the force of law.

Andy Beshear (Kentucky Lantern photo by Austin Anthony)

Hale said Abbott “has the backbone to stand up and say I want to do something about this. And the Biden administration does nothing about it” while Beshear, Hale said, sits “on the sidelines.”

Beshear issued this statement: “Throughout my time as Attorney General and Governor, I have always avoided pick-a-side politics, and in the last election, the people of Kentucky showed they are exhausted with this constant ‘us-versus-them.’ 

“I answered the call under both Presidents Trump and Biden, and Kentucky has sent nearly 850 National Guard members to the southern border. In doing so, we answered the call of our country, not the clamor of the latest political outrage.

“Last year, I thanked our soldiers for their service at the border and awarded them the Governor’s Outstanding Unit Citation. Finally, I have concerns that today’s resolutions are based on a legal theory that was previously used to support secession. I am a proud American who will always support our one nation under God.” 

This story has been updated with the House vote.

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Jamie Lucke
Jamie Lucke

Jamie Lucke has more than 40 years of experience as a journalist. Her editorials for the Lexington Herald-Leader won Walker Stone, Sigma Delta Chi and Green Eyeshade awards. She is a graduate of the University of Kentucky.