The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) submitted a formal complaint regarding alleged concerns about the legality of Texas’ immigration enforcement methods.
In a letter to the compliance branch in the Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the Texas chapter of the ACLU alleged that Texas law enforcement officials exceeded their authority by detaining and transporting unlawful migrants to the custody of federal officials.
Based solely on an article by The Texas Tribune, the ACLU claimed that the Texas Department of Public Safety is wrongfully engaged in the enforcement of border security efforts in Eagle Pass, Texas, prompted by an executive order issued by Governor Greg Abbott.
“We write,” the ACLU explained, “to express serious concern regarding this set of events and the possibility that similar unilateral arrest, transportation, and detention, followed by transfer to Customs and Border Protection (CBP) custody, may be occurring elsewhere.”
In an executive order issued on July 7, Abbott decided to “authorize and empower the Texas National Guard and the Texas Department of Public Safety to respond to this illegal immigration by apprehending immigrants who cross the border between ports of entry or commit other violations of federal law.”
The governor directed the National Guard and DPS to “return those illegal immigrants to the border at a port of entry.”
Abbott justified the move, explaining that although “securing the international border is the federal government’s responsibility … President Biden has refused to enforce the immigration laws enacted by Congress, including statutes mandating detention of certain immigrants who have claimed asylum or committed a crime.”
The letter concluded by urging “DHS to take swift action both to reject transfers of migrants transported by Texas DPS to DHS custody and to end any detention of migrants on federal property by Texas DPS or any other state or local agency.”
The ACLU further demanded that “DHS should reject any involvement with DPS’s immigration enforcement efforts in South Texas.”
The ACLU’s complaint is part of an ongoing debate about border security and concerns about the law, its enforcement, and its effects on local communities along the border.
The Dallas Express reached out for comment from Gov. Abbott’s office, the Texas ACLU, and the Federation for American Immigration Reform but had not received a response by press time.