Border Patrol husbands are major talking points for Republican Latinas running for office in Texas
Irene Armendariz-Jackson, Mayra Flores and Cassy Garcia have all cited their husbands’ occupation as major reasons for their runs.
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The upcoming midterm elections on Nov. 8 are set to be some of the more contested, and critical elections in recent history. In no part of the country is that intensity more felt than along the U.S.-Mexico border in Texas.
It’s brought by a host of Republican Latina candidates that are vying to flip a number of House seats that have long been held by Democrats. And a major issue in the campaigns of Mayra Flores, Cassy Garcia, Irene Armendariz-Jackson, and Monica De La Cruz is border security.
For three — Florez, Armendariz-Jackson and Flores — it is the reason they are running for office.
All three are married to border patrol agents, and they’ve all made their significant others big parts of their sales pitches for office.
It is a common Republican talking point — insecurity at the border — taken to the umpteenth degree by having candidates, especially Latina candidates, make it part of their identities as a qualifying factor for office.
Armendariz Jackson is arguably the strongest when it comes to the messaging surrounding her husband who is now retired, but did work for 24 years as a border patrol agent. She is running for a second time against Rep. Veronica Escobar in Texas’ 16th Congressional District.
In the first line of the ‘About’ page on Armendariz Jackson’s campaign website, it announces her as the wife of a border patrol agent. That carries over to Twitter, where a profile picture from a personal account displays a graphic that reads: “I stand with Border Patrol.”
The bio is more of the same: “I AM THE BORDER CANDIDATE 4 Congress, I will flip Beto’s old seat.”
For Flores, who is running to keep her 34th Congressional District seat representing Brownsville and the Gulf Coast around Corpus Christi, not only is her husband a border patrol agent — addressed towards the bottom of the ‘About’ page of her own campaign site — but she also has more agents in her family.
"We have a border that is completely out of control," said Flores. "It's not just a humanitarian crisis. It's also a national security crisis. Our Border Patrol are focused on women and children. They’re not able to focus on the terrorists coming in."
The pinned tweet on Flores’ Twitter profile is also a commissioned advertisement from her campaign that addresses border security and immigration.
Garcia is the third and final ‘border patrol wife’ (as dubbed by The New York Post) who is looking for a seat representing Texas’ District 28. She is running against Rep. Henry Cuellar in a district that covers parts of eastern San Antonio and stretches out to border towns near the U.S.-Mexico border. Unlike Armendaris Jackson and Flores, her marital ties to a border patrol agent aren’t touted on her campaign website, but she’s shared that his occupation is the major reason for her run.
Specifically, Garcia has cited her husband’s stories from on the job, a border patrol agent of over 26 years, as what convinced her to run.
“[He] says the administration is not doing its job and not enforcing laws that are on the books; he has seen it all getting worse,” Garcia told The New York Post in a piece from Oct. 5. “There is a morgue in Laredo that is at capacity with the bodies of unidentified immigrants.”
It’s a graphic image that encapsulates the in-your-face Republican strategy when it comes to talking about the border.
The other Republican Latina going for a Congressional seat in Texas is Monica De La Cruz, who is gunning for the state’s 15th Congressional District. While not the wife of a border patrol agent, border security is her number one issue.
As Latino Democrats have made creating a permanent pathway to citizenship a part of their campaigns, the GOP’s Latino candidates, especially in Texas, are on the flipside.