Humanitarian workers are slamming a baseless threat by Texas’ right-wing governor, who, without providing one shred of evidence, is directing his corrupt attorney general to investigate whether organizations have been helping migrants unlawfully cross into Texas.
Texas officials know damn well that groups are aiding migrants who have already been processed and released by federal officials, and we know that they know this because these are the same migrants they’ve rounded up for Abbott’s busing stunt. What Abbott is actually doing is intimidating groups as the Biden administration is set to lift the anti-asylum Title 42 order next week.
But Fernando García, executive director of the Border Network for Human Rights (BNHR), said the organization will not be intimidated, and will continue its advocacy work. In a statement received by Daily Kos, he called Abbott’s threat an “abuse of power and authority.”
RELATED STORY: With anti-asylum order soon to end, Abbott is attacking pro-migrant groups to ensure maximum cruelty
“This is a direct attack on hundreds of organizations, including BNHR, that have been defending human rights and immigrant communities for years and providing essential social services that our federal government has failed to deliver,” García said. He noted Abbott’s already used his office to go “above and beyond to criminalize” migrants, through his racist Operation Lone Star stunt.
“Now he is going after humanitarian organizations that support and provide information to vulnerable people who seek asylum and safety in this country.”
The organization leader said that rather than “providing orderly and humane solutions,” Abbott “has chosen to arrogantly disregard the separation of power to pursue what BNHR has been actively denouncing: his white supremacist, xenophobic and anti-immigrant agenda.” It is a fact that Abbott has signaled to white supremacists and other violent actors, by unabashedly echoing their rhetoric in his administration’s policies. Even after a racist gunman espousing “invasion” rhetoric massacred shoppers at an El Paso Walmart.
“Gov. Abbott’s latest actions are deplorable, a reflection of a racist distortion of what is happening at the southern border, and a clear attempt to institute fear and intimidation,” García continued. “We will not be intimidated, we will continue our human rights and humanitarian work, which, now more than ever, is so needed at the border.”
Catholic Charities USA, meanwhile, has already been targeted by the right-wing for assisting migrants with anything from short-term shelter to a bus ticket. Now the Catholic organization is again being forced to defend its work following threats from Republican lawmakers in the U.S. House. In an official statement, the organization said it was “incredibly disturbing” to be accused of breaking federal law.
”Our humanitarian care (food, clean clothes, bathing facilities, overnight respite) is provided legally,” the statement said. “It typically begins after an asylum-seeker has been processed and released by the federal government. Both U.S. and international law provide for the right to seek asylum at another country’s border.”
The organization said that, without their aid, many migrants would be sleeping on the streets after being released by federal officials.
”The ministry of care provided to migrants by Catholic Charities has been ongoing, across multiple administrations, since our founding in 1910,” the statement continued. “To care for people who are at-risk, including vulnerable people on the move, is a part of the fabric of the global Catholic Church and is mandated by the gospel.”
The Bible is actually filled with passage after passage demanding justice for the migrant—“Jesus was a refugee,” Pope Francis reminded in 2014—but you don’t see Christian nationalists pushing comprehensive immigration reform that might actually help someone. That would make it harder for them to keep using migrants as their boogeymen. That might actually make them follow their faith’s teachings.
”Let us be clear,” Catholic Charities continued. “The U.S. immigration system is in dire need of reform; Catholic Charities and all those agencies and individuals responding to this national crisis are operating within a broken system. We urge all Americans to ask the administration and their Congressional representatives to act on this important issue, as we have done.”
'Horrifyingly illegal': Abbott orders officers to stop drivers suspected of transporting migrants
'Irreparable injury to the United States': Judge temporarily halts Abbott's order targeting migrants
Biden admin set to lift anti-asylum Title 42 order next week, but GOP appeal may now delay that