Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office issued a scathing press release on Wednesday announcing Paxton’s filing of a temporary injunction against Annunciation House, a nonprofit migrant shelter in El Paso, Texas. The statement attacks the shelter and its Executive Director in harsh terms similar to the verbal assaults stemming from dubious claims made earlier this year when Paxton accused the nonprofit of human smuggling and trafficking.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed an application for a Temporary Injunction against Annunciation House to halt its systemic criminal conduct in Texas,” reads the statement. “The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) has reviewed and obtained sworn testimony indicating that Annunciation House’s operations are designed to facilitate illegal border crossings and to conceal illegally present aliens from law enforcement.”

Paxton’s allegations have been challenged on many fronts, including by volunteers and the local community. Former volunteer Pauline Hovey wrote an article for the National Catholic Reporter in February highlighting her experience and said Paxton’s claims were beyond outrageous. After Paxton’s initial lawsuit was filed, Borderland and community leaders in El Paso spoke out against the Attorney General’s attacks on Annunciation House

In March, an El Paso judge ruled against the Attorney General’s attempt to shut down Annunciation House.

“The Attorney General’s efforts to run roughshod over Annunciation House, without regard to due process or fair play, call into question the true motivation for the Attorney General’s attempt to prevent Annunciation House from providing the humanitarian and social services that it provides,” said 205th District Judge Francisco Dominguez. “There is a real and credible concern that the attempt to prevent Annunciation House from conducting business in Texas was predetermined.” 

In response, Texas RioGrande Legal Aid (TRLA) said the AG’s press release accompanying the injunction filing was vicious. TRLA lawyer Jerome Wesevich who represents Annunciation House, responded to Wednesday’s press release arguing the AG’s filing had no merits.

“The papers are all heat and no light,” said Wesevich. “The Court set forth an orderly process for deciding this case, and Annunciation House intends to follow that process so that Annunciation House and other non-profits have a clear statement of their rights and responsibilities when the Attorney General serves them with subpoenas.”

“What matters here is what the Court does, not what the Attorney General says,” continued Wesevich. “While the Attorney General drums up attention to his false claims, Annunciation House continues to serve refugees as the law allows and as the Gospel commands.”

Attacks on immigrants, federal immigration law, and nonprofit immigration services are part of a trend for Republican leaders across several states and in Congress. Most of it is based on xenophobia and cowardice drummed up by purveyors of the racist “Great Replacement” conspiracy theory. In it, they argue that Jews like George Soros are paying migrants to cross the border to facilitate the “browning of America” and “eliminate” the white race.

It should come as no surprise that this escalation began shortly after Texas’s demographics showed Latinos (40.2%) outnumbering white people (39.8%) in the state by a slim margin.

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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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