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Immdef Denounces Reports of Texas State Troopers Separating Families at the u.s.-meXICO border

Updated: Sep 11, 2023

Alarming news reports indicate that Texas state troopers are separating families at the United States-Mexico border. Families belong together and inhumane asylum border policies are unlawful and heartless.


Contact: Alicia Vargas;

LOS ANGELES, CA – Immigrant Defenders Law Center is outraged at the level of cruelty and malfeasance being pushed forward by the state of Texas and its troopers.

The Houston Chronicle reports at least 26 families have been split up since July 10th according to Kristin Etter, an attorney and special project director at Texas RioGrande Legal Aid.

All of the 26 arrests identified by Etter occurred between July 10 and July 14 in Eagle Pass, a border town in Texas of about 30,000 people where Abbott has focused his multibillion-dollar state sponsored border enforcement in recent weeks.

Texas Troopers have been arresting both male and female migrants on private land and in a public park, forcing small children and families downriver and withholding water from some even in extreme temperatures.

Several of the fathers reported that state troopers “forcibly separated them from their wives and children promising they would reunite in immigration custody,” said Audrey Mulholland, an attorney with Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid. “To date, many of those fathers remain incarcerated in state or federal custody with some having no idea where their family members are, said Mulholland.

It is clear Texas is obstructing Border Patrol agents and endangering lives in the most egregious way reminiscent of Trump’s zero tolerance policy where Federal immigration officials removed children from both parents reclassifying them as unaccompanied. The children in those situations were sent alone to shelters without a system in place to reunite them.

“Trump's zero tolerance policy ended because we cannot tolerate tormenting children with family separation at our border. We did not stand by idly when we heard the audio recordings of children crying out for their parents. We cannot stand by idly now while the Governor of Texas is tearing apart families. Border policies must be humane — period,” said Margaret Cargioli, Directing Attorney of Policy & Advocacy.

"Texas Governor Abbott's cruelty knows no bounds. Separating migrant families at the border is inhumane and morally bankrupt. Many families are fleeing persecution in their home country only to face more persecution when they arrive in Texas. The Governor is choosing to traumatize children and families, cause irreparable and lasting damage. Enough is enough. All people of conscience should denounce the Governor's actions and demand an end to his callousness at the border,” said Alvaro M. Huerta, Director of Litigation & Advocacy.


Immigrant Defenders Law Center (ImmDef) is a next-generation social justice law firm that defends our immigrant communities against injustices in the legal system. We envision a future where no immigrant will be forced to face immigration court alone. Our programs are a first step towards the long-term goal of providing universal representation to all immigrants facing deportation. ImmDef is now the largest non‐profit, pro bono provider of deportation defense in California with offices in Los Angeles, Adelanto, Riverside, Santa Ana, and San Diego.

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