Lawyers File Civil Rights Complaint with Department of Justice Over Texas Border Arrest Program

Civil rights and immigration activists filed a complaint with the Justice Department on Wednesday over a Texas border arrest program initiated by the Texas government. Greg AbbottGreg Abbott On The Trail: Trump-Inspired Challengers Target GOP Governors Abrams, O’Rourke Give Democrats A Chance, Women A Choice Former reporter announces Democratic bid for Texas governor MORE (R), alleging that the program is discriminatory, according to

As part of the Operation Lone Star program, pThose suspected of crossing the border illegally are charged with criminal trespassing. Lawyers argue the program violates Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act on the grounds that it is discriminatory, according to

“In this racist and xenophobic environment, authorities target migrants for arrest and criminal prosecution – under the guise of the state’s criminal trespassing law, but with the explicit and stated aim of punishing migrants on the basis of their immigration status ”, the complaint indicated.

“Using state criminal law, the state of Texas and the participating counties have created and are implementing what is in effect a state immigration enforcement system that targets black and white people. Bruns – mainly the Latinx – for prosecutions and harsher sentences, “he continues.

The complaint alleges that the program has put in place a “separate criminal prosecution and detention system” for those arrested, including separate prisons, separate criminal records and separate public defender missions.

“This separate system is riddled with civil rights violations, including failure to appoint a lawyer, failure to meet deadlines for filing charges and even unilateral replacement of judges. Hundreds of those arrested waited in jail for weeks or months without a lawyer or a court date. Ultimately, the overwhelming majority of cases are simply dropped – through dismissal or denial of prosecution, ”the complaint said.

Officials and attorneys who signed the lawsuit, including those from the Texas ACLU, the Texas Fair Defense Project, and the Texas Civil Rights Project, are urging the Justice Department to investigate the program, demanding that any state or local agency involved in discrimination loses federal funding. .

The complaint says more than 2,200 people have been arrested in connection with the program.

In late October, more than 20 Democratic representatives called on several officials in the Biden administration to look into Abbott’s Operation Lone Star program.

“We request that the Department of Justice (DOJ) review and investigate Governor Abbott’s Operation Lone Star program regarding both its likely violation of the supremacy clause and its treatment of migrants, particularly with regard to the law. constitutional process of an individual to due process, ”the letter said.

A spokesperson for the governor told NBC News in a statement at the time that the program was in place to combat drug and human trafficking.

The Hill has contacted Abbott’s office and the DOJ for comment.

Updated at 19:46

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