A federal lawsuit accuses Texas’ immigrant detention program of targeting “black and brown – primarily Latino -” individuals 2022-04-29 14:09:47


The lawsuit was filed Wednesday in US District Court for the Western District of Texas on behalf of 15 immigrants arrested in Texas under the program.

Prosecutors argue in part that the trespassing arrests under Operation Lone Star “regularly lack probable cause”, are “discriminatory on the basis of race and national origin, including perceived status as an immigrant,” and that discrimination violates constitutional rights.

They also argue that the trespass arrest program is one aspect of Texas’ “wider effort” to illegally usurp federal law and “unilaterally create state immigration policy and unilaterally engage in immigration enforcement without the authority or oversight of the federal government.”

The lawsuit is asking for $5.4 million in damages. It also asks the judge, among other things, to declare that federal law preempts Operation Lone Star, and to order the defendants to stop the operation.

Among the defendants on the list are Abbott and Kinney County in Texas, a county along the US-Mexico border. CNN reached Abbott’s office and heard no response. Kenny County, the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Texas Department of Criminal Justice have sent letters to CNN saying that the departments do not comment on pending lawsuits.

Abbott launched Operation Lone Star – which his office She said It was an attempt to combat illegal immigration and the smuggling of people and drugs into Texas on the US-Mexico border – in March 2021.

The lawsuit alleges that more than 5,000 people were arrested in the process

The suit alleges that the state “established a separate criminal prosecution and detention system” for immigrants arrested in the process — one with “separate criminal offenses, separate public defense assignments, separate prisons (converted state prisons), and even a separate “criminal” facility. Processing immigrants ‘in custody’.

This system has led to civil rights abuses, “including false affidavits of probable cause, failure to hire a lawyer, failure to file charges in a timely manner, excessive incarceration, and even unilateral substitution of judges,” the lawsuit said.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott's anti-immigrant plan: Many arrested, many detained, few prosecuted
Under the detention program, more than 5,000 people have been arrested on criminal charges related to state misdemeanours, hundreds of immigrants have been arrested and Imprisoned for weeks or months without a lawyer, without charge, without bailThe suit claims, without lawful custody arrest, or without a court date.

The suit states that “the arrest records show profiling based on race/color, national origin, and/or immigration status, including with numerous descriptions of observing or receiving reports of ‘illegal immigrants’.”

Operation Lone Star relied on resources from the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Texas National Guard to police the border. At some point, the process Swelled to more than 10,000 service personnel.
Effort In the end It included the arrest of suspected illegal immigrants on suspicion of trespassing if they were found on private property after crossing the border. The lawsuit also alleges that some of the arrests lacking probable cause included “cases in which law enforcement directed individuals from public property to a specific location, and then arrested them for trespassing once they got there.”
With Abbott deploying thousands of personnel to the US-Mexico border, so was the process Criticize as overtly political and a waste of resources by Democratic lawmakers and even some National Guard members involved in the mission.