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Community Organizations and Civil Rights Groups Respond to Governor’s Address

Updated: Feb 21, 2023

Operation Lone Star has harmed Texas communities, made Texans less safe










FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

February 17, 2023


TEXAS – Last night, Governor Greg Abbott spoke to Texans about his legislative priorities during the annual State of the State address. In the address, held in San Marcos and without the public or press present, Governor Abbott focused heavily on border policies, specifically his multi-billion dollar scheme, Operation Lone Star. In response to the State of the State address, community organizations and civil rights groups, including the Immigrant Legal Resource Center, Grassroots Leadership, Never Again Action, LatinoJustice PRLDEF, Laredo Immigrant Alliance, National Immigration Project, Mano Amiga SMTX, Texas Civil Rights Project, and Border Network for Human Rights issued the following statement:


“Instead of focusing the State of the State address on solutions Texans actually need, Governor Abbott continued to promote harmful immigration policies that only seek to punish Black, Brown, and Indigenous people seeking safety at our border. Policies like Operation Lone Star only sow confusion and turn border communities into war zones. Not only has this policy turned the lives of brave people into political pawns, but it has misspent taxpayer money in an effort for Governor Abbott to gain political points. Texans deserve better. The people of Texas want to be able to feel safe in the next winter storm, to stop school shootings, gain access to equitable healthcare, and better infrastructure. While Governor Abbott continues to wage war on Texas communities well into the legislature, we stand together ready to continue fighting on behalf of all Texans. Together, from the Panhandle to the Rio Grande Valley, we can create a state where all Texans prosper.”


Operation Lone Star, which began in March 2021, has spent billions of Texas taxpayer dollars subjecting Black and brown migrants and US citizens to racially discriminatory arrests, prosecutions on flimsy pretexts, and detention with substandard food and inadequate or nonexistent health care, people detained under the program said in a complaint filed with the US Justice Department. Defendants have been forced to wait weeks or months in pretrial detention before they have an opportunity to see a judge.


The federal government, including the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice, has been on notice since at least December 2021 that Operation Lone Star targets people based on race and national origin, disregards due process, and subjects them to abuses in detention.


Texas’ escalating militarized approach at the border echoes a failed three-decade-old federal policy known as “prevention through deterrence,” which has not slowed migration or drug use, but has strengthened illicit actors who profit from smuggling people through increasingly dangerous terrain.


At least 30 people have been killed in state police car chases associated with Operation Lone Star, and evidence indicates that the police are engaging in racial profiling of residents. Additionally, low-level traffic citations in counties participating in the program have increased significantly.


For more information visit: www.endlonestar.com.


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Grassroots Leadership is an Austin, Texas-based national organization that works for a more just society where prison profiteering, mass incarceration, deportation, and criminalization are things of the past. Follow us @Grassroots_News.


The Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC) is a national nonprofit that works with immigrants, community organizations, legal professionals, and policy makers to build a democratic society that values diversity and the rights of all people. Through community education programs, legal training & technical assistance, and policy development & advocacy, the ILRC works to protect and defend the fundamental rights of immigrant families and communities. Follow us at www.ilrc.org, and on Twitter and Instagram @the_ILRC.


Never Again Action is a Jewish-led mobilization against the persecution, detention, and deportation of immigrants in the United States. Never Again fights for collective liberation. Connect with us at neveragainaction.com, IG: @never_again_action + @neveragainatx, Twitter: @NeverAgainActn

LatinoJustice PRLDEF works to create a more just society by using and challenging the rule of law to secure transformative, equitable and accessible justice, by empowering our community and by fostering leadership through advocacy and education. For 50 years, LatinoJustice PRLDEF has acted as an advocate against injustices throughout the country. To learn more about LatinoJustice, visit www.LatinoJustice.org


The Laredo Immigrant Alliance is a group led by immigrants and allies that fight for immigrant rights. It does so by engaging, educating, and organizing the community. Follow us on FB:@laredoimmigrantalliance IG:@laredoimmiall Twitter: @laredoimmiall


The National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild (NIPNLG) is a national non-profit organization that provides technical assistance and support to community-based immigrant organizations, legal practitioners, and all advocates seeking and working to advance the rights of noncitizens. NIPNLG utilizes impact litigation, advocacy, and public education to pursue its mission. Learn more at nipnlg.org. Follow NIPNLG on social media: National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild on Facebook, @NIPNLG on Twitter and Instagram.

Mano Amiga’s mission is to educate, advocate, coordinate, and organize alongside and in favor of immigrants and low-income residents in the rural I-35 corridor between San Antonio and Austin: Guadalupe, Caldwell, Hays, and Comal counties. Alongside writers, visual artists, musicians, and film-makers, we amplify the voices and experiences of people from historically underrepresented communities including people of color, the LGBTQIA+ community, and people who have been directly impacted by incarceration. With our partners in the big cities, we aim to construct an 80-mile-long corridor of resistance to racist, anti-immigrant policies, deep in the heart of Texas.

About Texas Civil Rights Project The Texas Civil Rights Project is boldly serving the movement for equality and justice in and out of the courts. We use our tools of litigation and legal advocacy to protect and advance the civil rights of everyone in Texas, and we partner with communities across the state to serve the rising movement for social justice. We undertake our work with a vision of a Texas in which all communities can thrive with dignity, justice and without fear.





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