Media Contact

Kristi Gross, ACLU of Texas, [email protected].

July 19, 2023

HOUSTON — The American Civil Liberties Union of Texas and the ACLU condemn the latest efforts by Texas law enforcement officers to endanger children and other migrants in the Rio Grande River.

According to a Department of Public Safety trooper cited in a recent article in the Houston Chronicle, Texas officials working under Gov. Greg Abbott’s multi-billion dollar anti-immigrant initiative Operation Lone Star have been instructed to push young children and nursing mothers back into the Rio Grande. The order is designed to prevent people from seeking protection in the U.S. and to place their lives in clear jeopardy by setting razor wire and other obstructions as dangerous traps in and around the river.

As detailed in the article, Texas officials continue to use these extremely harmful tactics despite documented injuries over the last several weeks, including a woman who miscarried while caught in the wire and young children who were injured by the wire. Customs and Border Protection must condemn Texas’s dangerous deployment and immediately cease its cooperation with Operation Lone Star. We call upon the federal government to investigate and ensure accountability for these recent developments.

“What Texas is doing at the border will seriously hurt or kill people if it hasn't already,” said David Donatti, ACLU of Texas staff attorney. “The leaked complaint shocks our conscience, but it unfortunately is consistent with what we have seen from Gov. Abbott. Our border communities are home, and cruelty to migrants is not a policy solution.”

“Texas must immediately stop intentionally endangering the lives of migrants seeking protection at the border,” said Sarah Mehta, ACLU senior border policy counsel. “The federal government must also act, by investigating these damning allegations and by the Department of Homeland Security decisively ending its own collusion with Operation Lone Star, which has facilitated and encouraged Texas’s expansion of a proven human and civil rights disaster.