For Immediate Release: July 30, 2021
We Are Home Campaign Responds to Gov. Abbott’s Executive Order GA-37
Washington, D.C. – On Wednesday July 28, Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued an executive order prohibiting the transportation of migrants and directed the Texas Department of Public Safety officials to stop any vehicle suspected of transporting migrants and return it to a port of entry. U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland issued a letter to Abbott on Thursday, July 29, warning him to rescind his directive as violating federal law. The Wednesday order was the latest in a series of moves by Abbott to further politicize the border, attack asylum seekers and other migrants, and encourage racial profiling and criminalization of people of color. Earlier this month, the state started jailing immigrants suspected of crossing the border unlawfully for state criminal charges such as trespassing. And on Tuesday, July 27, Abbott ordered the Texas National Guard to assist the Texas Department of Public Safety in carrying out arrests of individuals at the border and holding them in state jails converted for this purpose.
Bridgette Gomez, Campaign Director for the We Are Home campaign said:
“This latest directive from Governor Abbott to order traffic stops is based on racism and xenophobia and has no basis in science or public health. It is an invitation for racial profiling and a naked political play to gin up anti-immigrant sentiment just days short of the anniversary of the El Paso shooting. The Governor is comfortable with scapegoating immigrants to distract from his failures to protect the state from COVID-19 or secure its energy grid or protect Texans from White nationalist mass murderers as he encourages the legislature to curtail voting rights.
The Governor is doubling down on encouraging racial profiling, criminalizing communities of color, expanding mass incarceration, and further victimizing people for seeking safety through asylum.”
Dani Marrero Hi, Director of Advocacy and Communications of LUPE La Unión del Pueblo Entero, said:
“For generations, border residents have welcomed people and families seeking protection. Individuals and organizations fill the gaps left by government inaction to ensure that people are welcomed with dignity and compassion. It is unconscionable that Gov. Abbott is unleashing the state police to target people seeking safety and the good-hearted Texans helping them. From a governor who continues to ban mask mandates and catastrophically mismanaged the state’s pandemic response, Greg Abbott’s executive order only serves to protect his own greed and power.”
Claudia Munoz, Co-Executive Director of Grassroots Leadership, said:
“Governor Abbott is forcing a crisis in Del Rio by mobilizing law enforcement across the state and the U.S. to target migrants, creating very dangerous conditions.
Because of Abbott’s executive order restricting transporting migrants, people are afraid to help migrant families, and this crisis will mount. The local shelter wouldn’t take people in because of concerns that they could not help them leave due to the executive order. So instead of dropping people off at the shelter like they usually do, CBP dropped families off at a local gas station. Pregnant people, children, and others were stranded with no place to go.
Many families and people are going to be caught in the crosshairs. We saw state troopers from Florida, sheriff deputies from Montgomery and Wilson counties, the Texas National Guard—the level of coordination and mobilization in these efforts is absolutely terrifying.”
We Are Home is a nationwide campaign to fight for immigrant communities on three fronts: prioritizing and demanding a pathway to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants in America; a moratorium and overhaul of interior enforcement; and broad affirmative relief from deportation. We Are Home is co-chaired by Community Change/Community Change Action; National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA)/Care in Action; Service Employees International Union (SEIU); United Farm Workers/UFW Foundation; and United We Dream.