Media Contact

Selene Escalera, ACLU of Texas, media@aclutx.org

September 17, 2021

HOUSTON — In response to the arrival of a large number of migrants in Val Verde County, Texas, state officials escalated their anti-immigrant rhetoric on Friday. 

The migrants — many of whom are Haitian and fleeing humanitarian crises in their home country — are currently awaiting processing by the federal government underneath a bridge that connects Texas and Mexico. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick echoed far-right extremist talking points in calling the increase in migrants at the border an “invasion.” He and Gov. Greg Abbott also vowed that the state will take matters into its own hands to deter migration across the Texas border. 

Migrants have a legal right under federal law to seek asylum and other legal protections in the U.S. The State of Texas also has no legal authority to set federal immigration policy or to enforce federal immigration law.

The following quote can be attributed to Oni Blair, executive director of the ACLU of Texas:

“Inflammatory and racist rhetoric about migrants is reprehensible. Our country has a long, proud history of embracing those seeking refuge from humanitarian crises. Texas should welcome and aid those fleeing harm, not unlawfully enforce its own immigration policy. It is critical that migrants who have crossed into Texas are provided due process and able to seek asylum, and have access to food, water, and medical care.”