In Quemado, Texas, a convoy of conservative Americans gathered for a border security rally, marking the final stop of their journey to express frustration with the perceived flaws in the immigration system. The chosen location, near Eagle Pass, highlighted the tension between the Biden administration and Texas Governor Greg Abbott over border security.
Despite concerns of potential violence, the rally remained peaceful, drawing a modest crowd, predominantly retirees who joined spontaneously after hearing about it on social media or local news. Attendees expressed concerns about lax immigration enforcement, emphasizing the need for upholding existing laws.
The rally occurred amid an escalating legal battle between Texas and the federal government over the deployment of concertina wire in Eagle Pass and the takeover of a riverside park by state law enforcement. Governor Abbott and others labeled the influx of migrants as an “invasion,” adopting defiant rhetoric reminiscent of armed conflicts.
Several attendees donned T-shirts with slogans echoing historical defiance, such as “Come and take it.” Reports of threats against migrants prompted U.S. Customs and Border Protection to take actions to ensure safety.
Organizer Rod Parker, a revivalist pastor, acknowledged concerns about potential civil unrest and expressed hope for a peaceful resolution. Republican governors from 25 states pledged support for Texas, with Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis committing National Guard troops.
Democrats and advocacy groups accused Abbott and Republicans of exacerbating tensions. Governor Abbott, known for his border enforcement program Operation Lone Star, faces legal challenges, including a new law allowing statewide arrests of unauthorized migrants.
The rally’s location shift to Cornerstone Children’s Ranch, north of Eagle Pass, aimed to avoid potential confrontations. The gathering, described by some as a “Trump rally without Trump,” featured Christian music and speeches, surprising some with its overtly religious nature.
In a lighthearted moment, one attendee, Wayne Harris, expressed surprise at the lack of “heathens” and hoped for a more political event, saying, “I believe, and I pray. But I thought this was going to be a Trump rally.”