The American Civil Liberties Union of Texas, Texas Fair Defense Project, and Covington & Burling LLP are suing over the unlawful, prolonged detention of four migrants by two counties on the Texas border in 2021 and 2022.

Migrants who were arrested for misdemeanor trespass under Operation Lone Star were incarcerated an additional 13-42 days after their charges were dropped or their sentences fully served, according to the lawsuit. Such overdetention violates the U.S. Constitution and the clear commands of Texas criminal procedures. The complaint names two county sheriffs, two counties, state and county officials, and a private company involved in the plaintiffs’ overdetention.

Detained far away from where they were arrested, the plaintiffs recalled abhorrent conditions during their unlawful detention: They were not given an adequate amount of food, were rarely allowed to go outside, suffered from inadequate heat or clothing, and received insufficient access to medical care during their detention. They were incarcerated in these conditions for months before receiving any due process, and then remained in prison after their charges had been dismissed or their sentences had been served.

The legal organizations are bringing this lawsuit to seek money damages and hold those involved accountable.


U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas