ERIN ELMORE: Texas sues NGOs facilitating ‘human smuggling’ along US-Mexico border

Texas Attorney General (AG) Ken Paxton announced a lawsuit filed against the El Paso-based non-governmental organization (NGO) Annunciation House in an attempt to revoke the group’s ability to operate in the state.

The Annunciation House, a religious organization, provides a network of shelters offered to illegal immigrants for short and long-term housing which facilitates non-citizens’ collection of Social Security benefits.

In a press release published Tuesday announcing the lawsuit, the AG stated, “The chaos at the southern border has created an environment where NGOs … facilitate astonishing horrors including human smuggling.” Paxton added that the several NGOs assisting migrants when crossing the border illegally are taxpayer-funded through federal grants.


 

“While the federal government perpetuates the lawlessness destroying this country, my office works day in and day out to hold these organizations responsible for worsening illegal immigration,” AG Paxton added.

In the press release, the attorney general’s office claimed to have demanded access to “certain specified records to evaluate these potential legal violations,” but asserted that the NGO “refused to produce a single document,” resulting in the lawsuit “to enjoin the Attorney General’s enforcement ability to obtain their documents.”

In response to the lawsuit, the Annunciation House issued a statement alleging that on February 7, 2024, the Consumer Protection Division of the attorney general’s office asked for a “broad swath of records,” and purportedly gave the organization one day to compile and hand over the requested documents. The NGO claims that the AG made the request “without an explanation.”

The Annunciation House requested an extension and “asked a Court to decide what documents the law permits the Attorney General to access. There is nothing illegal about asking a Court to decide a person’s rights,” the organization wrote on social media.

 

The state then denied the NGO’s request for an extension, and as a result, the charity filed a lawsuit against the state asking the court for guidance regarding which documents must be provided to the AG’s office. To “buy time,” according to the Texas Tribune, the Annunciation House also requested a restraining order against the AG, “to grant the Catholic organization relief from the state’s immediate demands.”

In the counter lawsuit filed on behalf of Texas, the AG denies the “allegations in the Verified Original Petition for Declaratory Judgment, Application for Temporary Restraining Order, and Application for Temporary Injunction filed by Annunciation House.”

If the court sides with the AG in the dispute, it could prohibit the NGO from operating in the state.

“The AG has now made explicit that its real goal is not records but to shut down the organization,” the Annunciation House said. “If the work that Annunciation House conducts is illegal – so too is the work of our local hospitals, schools, and food banks.”

Several nonprofit organizations operating along the U.S.-Mexico border have received taxpayer funds through federal grants to propagate and facilitate illegal immigration, earning the ire of many conservative pundits and border town residents whose localities have taken a turn for the worse.

This piece first appeared at TPUSA.


Image: Title: ken paxton
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