Texas governor Greg Abbott has been mocked and criticized for suggesting that immigrants have been detained for “crossing our border illegally” from South Africa.
Abbott’s tweet was criticizing President Joe Biden‘s decision to restrict travelers entering the U.S and seven other countries from southern Africa in order to help prevent the spread of the new COVID-19 variant B.1.1.529, now named Omicron.
In doing so, Abbott appeared to link the steps to stop the Omicron coronavirus variant spreading internationally to the migrant crisis on the U.S.-Mexico border, which the governor frequently attacks the president over.
“Biden banned travel from South Africa because of the new Covid variant,” Abbott tweeted.
“Immigrants have recently been apprehended crossing our border illegally from South Africa. Biden is doing nothing to stop immigrants from South Africa entering illegally. Pure politics and hypocrisy.”
It is unclear if Abbott was confusing the country of South Africa with the continent of South America, or if he was suggesting migrants have been traveling from South Africa towards Mexico before illegally trying to enter the U.S.
Either way, the tweet was condemned by a number of social media users.
New York Democratic Senator James Skoufis tweeted: “Greg Abbott can see South Africa from his house! Stay in school, kids.”
South African politician Ashor Sarupen said: “Apparently, as a consequence of continental drift and some seismic activity, South Africa now shares a border with the US.
“Either that, or Greg Abbott is just demonstrating his American level of geography skills.”
Grant Stern, author and the Executive Editor of Occupy Democrats, tweeted: “I propose sending Greg Abbott to the South African border right away. Raise your hand if you agree with me.”
Majid Padellan, better known as the popular left-wing Twitter account Brooklyn Dad, added: “I don’t know who needs to hear this, but South Africa doesn’t share a border with the United States.
“Oh, I guess Greg Abbott needs to hear that.”
Katie S. Phang, attorney and CNBC host, tweeted in response to Abbott: “If this isn’t a parody account, you need to resign.”
Apparently, as a consequence of continental drift and some seismic activity, South Africa now shares a border with the US.
Either that, or Greg Abbott is just demonstrating his American level of geography skills. https://t.co/xxGaObHJKh
— Ashor Sarupen MP (@AshorSarupen) November 29, 2021
How does one swim from South Africa to your country through this cold ass Atlantic ocean ? Aren’t you mistaking us with South America maybe? Y’all can be absurds at times, unprovoked. pic.twitter.com/EWtv2IK3If
— ツ Ø ͏ Ʀ ͏ ł ͏ ͏ ❼ (@Ori_Debig_Beats) November 29, 2021
What on earth are you talking about?
South Africa is 9,000 miles and an entire ocean away.
And in case your geography is bad:
South America’s closest border with the US is more than 2,000 miles away.
WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT??
— Susan Is Trying to Escape Politics, But Failing (@Suavebones) November 29, 2021
The World Health Organization has official listed Omicron as a “variant of concern” because it has several mutations which may impact on how it behaves, such how easily it spreads or the severity of illness those who are infected by it may be inflicted with.
However, the WHO said it is still unclear if Omicron is more transmissible or causes more severe disease than other COVID variants, and more studies are needed.
Abbott has been connected for further comment.
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