Migrants caught in a border sweep in Texas have been detained for weeks.
Hundreds of migrants detained as part of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s “catch and jail” border security initiative have been held in custody for weeks with no charges filed against them, and many have been held for more than a month without being assigned attorneys.
The men are mostly Latino, and many of them don’t speak English. They were apprehended on the border and sent to prisons hundreds of miles away, where they spent weeks or months with little to no legal representation, few opportunities to speak with their families, and even fewer opportunities to learn what was happening to them or how long they would be imprisoned.
Defense attorneys and immigrant advocacy groups are asking judges to free the men, citing rampant violations of state laws and constitutional due process rights as local justice systems continue to be overburdened by the number of arrests.
Amrutha Jindal, a Houston defense attorney whose organization, Restoring Justice, was recently assigned to represent dozens of migrants, said, “We can’t have a country or a system where people are being rounded up like this and sort of tucked away and hidden without the oversight and respective rights that the Constitution demands.” “Without due process, the system crumbles.”
Abbott’s office did not reply to inquiries about the court delays on Friday. He has continued to praise Texas Department of Public Safety officers for the arrests while criticizing the federal government’s immigration policies, which he believes are to blame for recent border crossings.
Criminal defendants in Texas must be assigned an attorney within three days of requesting one. A state statute also mandates that offenders be freed from custody if prosecutors take too long to file charges. That deadline is set at 15 or 30 days, depending on the charge level, for trespassing, the offense on which the great majority of the imprisoned migrants were apprehended.
Both of those deadlines have been pushed back as Abbott, a former Texas Supreme Court justice and state attorney general, pushes on with his plan to have state police arrest migrants suspected of illegally entering the country for offenses including trespassing or human smuggling. Approximately 1,000 migrants have been transferred to two Texas prisons that have been turned into immigration detention centers since the initiative began in July. According to jail officials, roughly 900 men were still incarcerated on Friday.
Jindal… Article Summary from Nokia News