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Texas Matters: Toxic politics on the border and how football helped Uvalde heal

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Speaker Mike Johnson with over 60 Republican members of Congress hold a press conference on the banks of the Rio Grande in Eagle Pass, Texas.

This week Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson and over 60 Republican members of Congress took a one-day trip to the Texas-Mexico border at Eagle Pass.

Speaker of the House Mike Johnson:
Last month alone, we saw the most illegal crossings in recorded history. It is an unmitigated disaster. A catastrophe, and what's more tragic is that it's a disaster of the president's own design.

Clearly the politics of the migration mess was at the top of the agenda for the Republican delegation while they were on the border. Speaker Johnson has not been in favor of solutions like appropriating additional funds for Customs and Border Protection.

While Johnson was on the border, I spoke to Blas Nuñez-Nieto, assistant secretary for border and immigration policy at the Department of Homeland Security, about the migration problem and—in a divided congress—the need for bi-partisan solutions.

Blas Nuñez-Nieto, Assistant Secretary for Border and Immigration Policy at the Department of Homeland Security:
I'm hopeful that they, as a result of the trip, are ready to understand the need to provide the resources that have been requested to support those men and women on the front lines, and also to update and modernize our immigration system when they come back to Congress.

Uvalde 21: Loyal and True

After the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School, the town of Uvalde was left to deal with an incredible tragedy where 21 lives were lost, including 19 students and two teachers. The shooting impacted the entire community. In a small town in Texas everyone is connected, and frequently those connections are made and fostered while cheering for the local high school football team.

As part of the ABC News year-long initiative, “Uvalde: 365,” ABC News producers followed Uvalde Coyotes coaches and players throughout their season and documented how the local gridiron was a way for many to honor the losses of Robb Elementary and in some ways heal as a community.

The football season became a rallying point for the town of Uvalde, Texas and, in some respects, for the nation, as the town had something to finally cheer for after losing so much.

Jenny Wagnon Courts is the ABC News senior producer of “21: Loyal and True.” It is produced in partnership with ESPN Films. The special is streaming on ESPN+ and it premieres on ABC News Live on Friday, January 5, at 7:00 p.m.

David Martin Davies can be reached at dmdavies@tpr.org and on Twitter at @DavidMartinDavi