HOUSTON: Today, more than 80 Representatives led by Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX) have signed on to a letter to President Joe Biden demanding that the White House intervene in Texas on strong legal grounds. Immigrant rights groups, advocates, and elected officials have expressed concerns over Gov. Abbott’s seemingly unconstitutional and excessively inhumane immigration policies in the Lone Star State.

Policies that include Border Protection Units – partially made up of vigilantes – and a Border Protection Court which acts outside of the U.S. legal system.

“We write to express our profound alarm over border policies instituted by Texas Governor Greg Abbott that are putting asylum-seekers at serious risk of injury and death, interfering with federal immigration enforcement, infringing on private property rights, and violating U.S. treaty commitments with Mexico,” reads the letter written by Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX). “We urge you to assert your authority over federal immigration policy and foreign relations and investigate and pursue legal action, as appropriate, related to stop Governor Abbott’s dangerous and cruel actions.”

Recent news out of Texas has put the spotlight on Governor Greg Abbott’s multi-billion dollar immigration policy known as Operation Lone Star. New legislation in the state helps bolster Gov. Abbott’s plan and has led to the recently reported atrocity at the border. Now, questions are arising about whether Abbott’s policies contributed to the deaths of four migrants that were found in the Rio Grande River over the Fourth of July weekend.

One of those victims was an infant.

While Gov. Abbott denies issuing the orders to push migrants back into the Rio Grande and refuse them water despite the current heatwave, as reported by the Houston Chronicle, there’s no denying that his placement of razor wire along the banks of the river and in the water and Texas State Troopers are impeding federal authorities from doing their jobs. In addition, the deployment of buoys in the river is creating tensions with Mexico which shares the international border with the United States.

“In addition to directly threatening the lives of migrants, we are concerned that Operation Lone Star is impeding federal immigration enforcement,” reads the letter. “A leaked June 26 Customs and Border Protection (CBP) memo reported on by the San Antonio Express-News revealed concerns expressed by CBP officials that razor wire in the Rio Grande installed by DPS is impeding their own immigration enforcement and border security operations. The memo further notes that wire on the Rio Grande riverbank near Eagle Pass reduces visibility to the river, adversely affecting CBP’s ability to interdict individuals crossing between ports of entry. Operation Lone Star is clearly hurting the efforts of CBP to enforce U.S. immigration laws.”:

The impeding of federal authorities also threatens many aspects of U.S. national security, the proper enforcement and implementation of federal immigration policy, and is causing much harm to asylum-seekers with a protected right to claim asylum once on U.S. soil. Migrants, whether documented or not, are protected by the U.S. Constitution and too often, Gov. Abbott’s policies deny them their rights to due process under the law.

Without intervention from the federal government, the horror, oppression, and death at the Texas-Mexico border at the hands of Texas authorities is all but guaranteed to continue.

“Operation Lone Star’s programs and policies, specifically the recent erection of razor wire or buoy walls, pose a huge danger to migrants and impedes the ability of our border patrol offices to safely and humanely treat migrants as well as to comply with relevant federal and international laws,” the letter continued. “As Governor Abbott continues to escalate his efforts on the border, we urge you to take the above actions and stop this horrific abuse of power.”

The letter was signed by 87 House Democrats including the full Texas Democratic delegation and the chairs of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, Congressional Black Caucus, and Congressional Asian-Pacific American Caucus.

In addition to Rep. Castro, the letter is signed by Reps. Raul M. Grijalva, Adam Schiff, Mark Takano, Pramila Jayapal, Adam Smith, Nannette Barragán, Henry Cuellar, James McGovern, Barbara Lee, Suzanne Bonamici, Steven Horsford, Judy Chu, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Eleanor Norton, Salud Carbajal, Janice Schakowsky, Sara Jacobs, Ilhan Omar, Tony Cárdenas, Sydney Kamlager-Dove, Scott Peters, Linda Sánchez, Lois Frankel, Glenn Ivey, Delia Ramirez, Juan Vargas, Jasmine Crockett, Robert Menendez, Ritchie Torres, Colin Allred, Teresa Leger Fernandez, Susan Wild, Dina Titus, Jesús García, Vicente Gonzalez, Nydia Velázquez, Lori Trahan, Gwen Moore, Sheila Jackson Lee, Norma Torres, Donald Payne, Lizzie Fletcher, Robert Garcia, Gerald Connolly, Lou Correa, Mark Pocan, Andrea Salinas, Jimmy Panetta, Gregorio Sablan, Troy Carter, Becca Balint, Eric Swalwell, Grace Napolitano, Frederica Wilson, Marc Veasey, Bonnie Watson Coleman, Maxwell Frost, Cori Bush, Daniel Goldman, Betty McCollum, Ayanna Pressley, Kathy Castor, Al Green, Dean Phillips, Lloyd Doggett, Gabe Vasquez, Anna Eshoo, Adriano Espaillat, Jason Crow, Katie Porter, Rashida Tlaib, Emanuel Cleaver, Ted Lieu, Veronica Escobar, Grace Meng, Madeleine Dean, Raul Ruiz, Sylvia Garcia, Jamaal Bowman, Greg Casar, Darren Soto, Jimmy Gomez, Nikema Williams, and David Trone.

Read the full letter here (pdf).

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Arturo Dominguez

Arturo is an anti-racist political nerd. He is an upcoming author, journalist, advocate for social justice, and a married father of three. He is a top writer on Medium and a regular contributor to several news media outlets. He writes educational and informative material about systemic racism, white supremacy, and racial injustice.

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