Tag: immigration

ACLU Files Lawsuit Against ICE – Allegations of Human Rights Violations

State-level legislation provides our members with significant opportunity to change Texans’ lives for the better. At the same time, many issues that deeply affect our constituents are still in the hands of the federal government. However, this does not exempt State officials from continually advocating and supporting policies that defend human rights and protect our citizens — especially on issues like immigration. 

 

Last April, ICE conducted the largest workplace immigration raid since 2008 at CVE Technology Group based in Allen, TX. ICE agents rounded up nearly 300 workers after a yearlong investigation of CVE’s connection to staffing agencies famous for overlooking documentation status. Originally, the ACLU filed an open records request for the search warrants that led to the raid, but ICE rejected the request. 

 

On Wednesday, the ACLU filed a lawsuit against ICE for violating the Freedom of Information Act when they refused to publicly release the search warrants or give a reasonable explanation as to why they were withholding these documents. 

 

According to testimonies from those subject to the raid, ICE transported CVE employees to a separate location and did not allow anyone to use cell phones or speak with one another. From these first hand accounts, it seems likely that both undocumented and legal residents might have had their rights violated and were coerced into revealing more private information than they would have had they been properly informed of their rights.  

 

“Some of the people who were arrested were on the path toward legal residency and had appointments at diplomatic offices to become documented workers.” – Dallas Morning News 

 

Eighty percent of those involved in the raid were women, many with families and children who will forever be traumatized by this event. The simple fact is that people, real individuals who are working to provide for their families and contribute to their community, are being hurt, not the companies responsible for hiring undocumented citizens. The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 states companies may not “knowingly” hire unauthorized immigrants. This glaring loophole has made it possible for companies like CVE to willfully hide behind temporary staffing agencies while claiming ignorance. 

 

Immigration status cannot dictate whether or not our government decides to uphold universal human rights. Beyond the moral imperative to treat others with the same dignity and respect you would want for yourself, the Fourth Amendment protects not only U.S. citizens, but everyone in our country. 

Photo courtesy of NBC News.

Federal Judge Saves Gov. Abbott From Horrible Decision on Refugee Resettlement

Last Friday, Governor Abbott formally opted out of the federal refugee resettlement program, a legal and widely supported form of immigration. While Gov. Abbott habitually demonstrates intolerance towards immigration, this most recent decision actively ignores his basic duties as a public servant and the suffering immigrants are attempting to escape when they relocate to the United States. The refugee resettlement program was born out of the 1980 Refugee Act and places highly vetted immigrants fleeing from their country of origin in the best place possible for their economic and emotional health. 

The ability to opt-in or -out of the program came with President Trump’s Executive Order 13888, which declared that states and localities must give written consent to participate in the resettlement program. Trump’s executive order came after he slashed the refugee cap for FY 2020 to less than 20% of the original number, going from 95,000 to 18,000. Since it’s release, 41 states have formally agreed to continue participation with the resettlement program. Texas is still the sole state to decline participation in the resettlement process, despite public backlash to Governor Abbott’s decision. It is disheartening that Governor Abbott brandished Texas with a reputation of being xenophobic, unwelcoming, and insensitive to human needs. 

Yesterday, a U.S. federal judge, Judge Peter Messitte of Maryland, ruled the executive order, and by extension Governor Abbott’s decision to pull Texas from the refugee resettlement program, unconstitutional, citing that localities and states cannot be afforded veto power. Judge Messitte also noted in his 31-page report that the executive order violated the 1980 Refugee Act. 

Although we feel deeply relieved with Judge Messittee’s decision, we do not underestimate the damage Trump’s executive order and Governor Abbott’s decision have already done. We know both Trump and Governor Abbott will continue to undermine legal immigration, and we will keep fighting regressive policies that run counter to basic human decency.

 

Below is a list of editorials from major Texas news outlets on the refugee ban, including select quotes from each. 

 

Texas is the only state to turn its back on refugees, and we should be ashamed

Dallas Morning News | January 11th, 2020

This is not a question of seeking to enforce border laws… This is about creating space for people with clear and approved asylum claims, and we are sorry that in his letter Abbott chose to conflate Texas’ border struggles with the decision to reject refugees.” 

 

Abbott’s rejection of refugees incomprehensible

Houston Chronicle | January 11th, 2020

Asylum-seekers and refugees are some of the most heavily vetted individuals who ever seek a home in the United States. As he noted, Texas has long been a leader in welcoming refugees. In fact, in recent years more refugees have resettled in Houston and Texas than any other city or state in the country.” 

 

Texas’ heart, ability to help are bigger than Gov. Abbott’s decision to bar refugees

Fort Worth Star Telegram | January 10th, 2020

… the Trump administration has already decided to limit the total number of refugees allowed into the U.S. by the end of the current fiscal year to 18,000, a big cut from previous years. Even if Texas took a disproportionate share, as Abbott noted it has in years past, it would be a relatively small job for the state.” 

 

Welcome refugees and the benefits they bring Texas

Austin American Statesman | January 2nd, 2020

Refugees aren’t making Texas less safe, but they are contributing to the state’s prosperity. Refugees in Texas had $4.6 billion in spending power and paid $1.6 billion in taxes in 2015…” 

 

Texas should say yes to refugee resettlement

San Antonio News Express | January 1st, 2020

… most political leaders across the nation — and across party lines — recognize that welcoming refugees fleeing war, violence and oppression in their home countries is not just the morally right thing to do but also a boon to local economies and community growth.

 

Photo above courtesy of KUT.