Global Refuge Condemns Texas Governor Abbott's Inhumane Border Deterrence Tactics | Global Refuge

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Press Release // Immigration and Asylum

Global Refuge Condemns Texas Governor Abbott’s Inhumane Border Deterrence Tactics

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Global Refuge Staff

July 20, 2023

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

July 20, 2023

Contact: Tim Young | timothy.young@globalrefuge.org

Washington, D.C. – According to concerns raised by a Texas state trooper deployed as part of Governor Abbott’s Operation Lone Star, inhumane practices directed by state authorities have led to harm and mistreatment of vulnerable migrants seeking safety at the U.S.-Mexico border.

According to the email sent to supervisors, Texas troopers were ordered to thrust defenseless children and nursing infants back into the Rio Grande, a pregnant woman having a miscarriage was found caught in razor wire strung by the state of Texas, and a four-year-old girl passed out from heat exhaustion after she tried to go through razor wire and was pushed back by Texas National Guard soldiers. The trooper also expressed his opposition to the state’s alleged policy of denying access to water amid scorching heat. Additionally, Texas authorities have recently deployed a wall of deterrence buoys that have pushed asylum seekers towards more treacherous areas of the river, increasing the risk of drownings.

Global Refuge unequivocally condemns these actions as cruel, inhumane, and unnecessary. The following is a statement by Krish O’Mara Vignarajah, President & CEO of Global Refuge, the nation’s largest faith-based nonprofit dedicated exclusively to serving refugees, asylum seekers, and other vulnerable immigrant groups:

“These new accounts expose a heart-wrenching lack of regard for the sanctity of human dignity as Governor Abbott ratchets up rogue border security efforts. The thought of asylum seekers having to flee violence and persecution, pass through a hotbed of dangerous jungle terrain and exploitation, only to make it to the golden doors of the United States and find them covered in razor wire is reprehensible.

These actions betray the very essence of who we are as a nation of refuge for those fleeing for their lives. Desperate children and families seeking safety are not cause for existential panic and draconian experiments in deterrence. These tactics further reveal the deeply flawed logic at the core of such inhumane deterrence policies – namely, that asylum seekers would flee across thousands of miles to reach the US border, sustained solely on their hopes and dreams of a better life, and suddenly decide to turn heel and head home because of improvised buoys and razor wire. This is not an abstract thought experiment: at least 853 migrants died trying to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in fiscal year 2022, making it the deadliest year ever on record.

These reported incidents, vivid in their portrayal of mistreatment and harm inflicted upon the most vulnerable, strike at the very core of our shared values. Governor Abbott must swiftly put an end to the policies that have created an atmosphere of suffering, fear, and despair for those who have already endured unimaginable hardships. The world is watching, and it is our shared responsibility to ensure that both Texas and the United States remain a beacon of humanity, not symbols of callous indifference.”

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