Tag Archives: immigration

DOJ Investigating Texas’ Operation Lone Star for Alleged Civil Rights Violations

Texas Department of Public Safety special agents apprehend a group of five men from Honduras who were caught on private property as part of Operation Lone Star in Kinney County near Brackettville, Texas, in November 2021. 
Credit: Verónica G. Cárdenas for ProPublica/The Texas Tribune

The Department of Justice is investigating alleged civil rights violations under Operation Lone Star, a multibillion-dollar border initiative announced last year by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, according to state records obtained by ProPublica and The Texas Tribune.

The Legislature last year directed more than $3 billion to border measures over the next two years, a bulk of which has gone to Operation Lone Star. Under the initiative, which Abbott said he launched to combat human and drug smuggling, the state has deployed more than 10,000 National Guard members and Department of Public Safety troopers to the border with Mexico and built some fencing. Thousands of immigrant men seeking to enter the country have been arrested for trespassing onto private property, and some have been kept in jail for weeks without charges being filed.

Since the operation’s launch, a number of news organizations, including ProPublica and the Tribune, have outlined a series of problems with state leaders’ claims of success, the treatment of National Guard members and alleged civil rights violations.

An investigation by the Tribune, ProPublica and The Marshall Project found that in touting the operation’s accomplishments, state officials included arrests with no connection to the border and statewide drug seizures. The news organizations also revealed that trespassing cases represented the largest share of the operation’s arrests. DPS stopped counting some charges, including cockfighting, sexual assault and stalking, after the publications began asking questions about their connections to border security.

Continue reading at ProPublica.

Congressman urges feds to let Mexican woman visit dying husband in Tucson

Bill de la Rosa, right, with U.S. Rep. Raúl Grijalva at a press conference on Thursday. Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Star

Local officials called for the federal government to reconsider a woman’s request to enter the United States to see her dying husband in Tucson one last time.

U.S. Rep. Raúl Grijalva sent a request Wednesday to the secretary of Homeland Security asking her to intervene and reconsider the case of Gloria Arellano, who was denied a temporary visit she requested on humanitarian grounds.

Grijalva spoke during a news conference Thursday alongside Arellano’s son Bill de la Rosa, one of her four children who are all U.S. citizens.

“Collectively, as a country, we are going through this divisive, ugly, non-ending debate and struggle around the issue of immigration and the border,” said Grijalva, a Tucson Democrat. “And what Bill and his family are asking is for in the middle of all this is a sliver of compassion, a humanitarian action.”

Friends of the family, Pima County Supervisor Richard Elías, Tucson City Councilwoman Regina Romero and Tucson Unified School District board member Adelita Grijalva were also present to express their support. An online petition, launched Wednesday, has already generated more than 7,600 signatures.

De la Rosa and his mother went to the port of entry in Nogales Tuesday with a letter from a health center saying Arsenio de la Rosa, 85, has only a few weeks to live.

After roughly a five-hour wait, an officer processing the request told them her application for a temporary permit to come back to the United States had been rejected because she was denied legal permanent residency in 2009. “He apologized and said it wasn’t up to him, it was up to his boss’s boss,” de la Rosa, a 24-year-old graduate student, said then.

Continue reading at the Arizona Daily Star.

CEO of Catholic Charities visits border, Tucson shelter to see asylum seekers

Valentina, a 25-year-old migrant mother from Guerrero, Mexico, holds 1-year-old son Edwin as 6-year-old Raudel looks on at Casa Alitas, a midtown migrant shelter operated by Catholic Community Services of Southern Arizona. Mike Christy/Arizona Daily Star.

While Sister Donna Markham had seen images of children and their parents waiting outside the Nogales port of entry, the reality was 10 times more painful, she said.

“This is the first time I see people sitting outside lined up at a border like that, sitting in the heat and waiting to be tended to,” said Markham, chief executive officer and president of Catholic Charities USA, as her eyes welled with tears. “That was pretty shocking for me. And to be with people and to know how frightened they are, they don’t know what’s going to happen to them.”

Markham was in Tucson Thursday as part of a Southern Arizona visit that included talking with officials of the binational organization Kino Border Initiative in Nogales and meeting with families lined up outside the pedestrian area of the port of entry waiting for Customs and Border Protection officers to process them.

She also visited Casa Alitas, a local shelter of Catholic Community Services, where families arrived after being released by immigration officials — including some of those processed at the port of entry.

Since mid-May, the line of people, mostly from Central America and Mexico, waiting to seek asylum in the United States has continued to grow at the Nogales port of entry as the government processes a few families at a time.

Continue reading at the Arizona Daily Star.

Feds: Understaffing, competing priorities lead to asylum-seeker waits at Nogales

In June, there were 742 parents or guardians and their children processed at Arizona’s ports of entry, along with 143 minors who arrived alone, CBP figures show. Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Star

The month-to-month numbers of families and minors being processed at Arizona’s ports of entry don’t tell the full story of why some wait up to two weeks for an opportunity to ask for asylum, officials said Monday.

“Arizona is one of the most understaffed field offices that we have,” said Todd Owen, executive assistant commissioner for the Customs and Border Protection Office of Field Operations.

“The port of Nogales has 142 vacancies themselves. We temporarily reassigned officers from elsewhere to help deal with the responsibilities down there. So the variables will change month-to-month as to what we can handle and what we cannot,” he said.

Since mid-May, the line of people waiting at the Nogales port of entry for a shot at seeking refuge in the United States has grown as the wait gets longer.

In June, there were 742 parents or guardians and their children processed at Arizona’s ports of entry, along with 143 minors who arrived alone. That’s down from about 1,000 families and 169 unaccompanied minors in May, CBP figures show.

The number of people processed, though, is not that different than in December, when there were 1,036 families and 217 unaccompanied minors who came through. There weren’t any lines then.

Continue reading at the Arizona Daily Star.