Texas Gov. Greg Abbott must still be smarting from that moment at the Republican leadership’s infamous May 25 press conference in Uvalde when Democratic gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke approached the stage and interrupted the carefully scripted event to tell the governor, “The time to stop the next shooting is right now and you are doing nothing. … It’s on you!”

O’Rourke was escorted out of the room by law enforcement officers, paralyzed the previous day when faced with an active shooter, while Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick shouted down and Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin cursed O’Rourke for his unscheduled appearance and blunt remarks.

Never mind that Abbott has had to eat most of his words from that press conference as one assertion after another about the school shooting that left 19 young children and two of their teachers dead at Robb Elementary School later proved false or inaccurate.

Fast forward to June 27, when authorities in San Antonio discovered an abandoned tractor-trailer near Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland full of dead Mexican and Central American migrants, with the death toll now standing at 53.

The news had hardly broken that Monday night when Abbott tweeted: “These deaths are on Biden. They are the result of his deadly open border policies. They show the deadly consequences of his refusal to enforce the law.”

Hmm. O’Rourke was somehow disrespectful in his Uvalde response, but Abbott was justified to engage in his own finger-pointing?

I’ve been working on, living near or visiting the Texas-Mexico border since first moving to Brownsville in 1975. The border has never had a greater federal law enforcement presence than now. It’s never been harder to gain entry, legally or illegally. Open borders, governor?

Amid such partisan hypocrisy, the least Abbott could have done is thank Beto for copying his bull’s eye J’accuse.

Meanwhile, amid his tweets, the governor somehow forgot to mention the billions of dollars he has ordered spent on his own failed militarization of the border. The centerpiece of that failure was the April debacle when Abbott ordered all trucks crossing the border into Texas from the south to be stopped and searched for drugs and migrants. Commerce ground to a halt for days on end as traffic on international bridges was frozen for hours.

Zero drug or contraband seizures. No truckloads of migrants. Nothing to justify the economic and social damage. Yet now Abbott has ordered even more money spent on mobile state inspection units that will soon be cruising roadways north of the border, randomly stopping vehicles in search of migrants.

We know Abbott harbors ambitions to be the next Republican president. Can’t he at least wait before he drains the state treasury pretending to be responsible for border security?

If only those billions had been spent on public schools, mental health services and other critical needs in the state. Unfortunately, kids don’t vote. Neither do most people living in poverty. As Abbott continues his campaign of demonizing migrants and, by extension, people from south of the border, he is placing a sure bet on the white voters in Texas who have kept him in office and on the state payroll 26 years and counting.

His campaign fodder is piling up right on schedule.

The violence, poverty and corruption gripping Mexico and Central America that have sent hundreds of thousands of desperate families and individuals to the United States seeking refuge know no political party. San Antonio saw thousands of Central American migrants released along the U.S.-Mexico border stream into the city during the years Donald Trump served as president.

Abbott somehow neglected to take to Twitter to blame Trump at the time. Yes, the crisis continues under Biden, although the U.S. Supreme Court’s Thursday ruling affirming the president’s right to cancel Trump’s “remain in Mexico” policy should eventually ease the pileup along the border as asylum-seekers are once again processed by federal courts.

Comprehensive immigration reform has eluded the two political parties for decades, and particularly since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks upended efforts by President George W. Bush to push through meaningful reforms. No one has an answer to address conditions in Central America, still reeling from the Cold War militarization of corrupt, repressive regimes by the United States in the 1980s.

American voters would surely welcome an honest effort by the two political parties to work together to explore humane and effective responses to the current crisis. It isn’t going away, especially in San Antonio, and all the public monies and all the partisan rhetoric by state leaders in Texas will not change that reality.

Robert Rivard, co-founder of the San Antonio Report who retired in 2022, has been a working journalist for 46 years. He is the host of the bigcitysmalltown podcast.