New name, same mission! LIRS is becoming Global Refuge. Learn more.

New name.
Same mission.

LIRS is now Global Refuge.

Welcoming newcomers since 1939.

See Our Evolution

The browser you are using is not supported. Please consider using a modern browser.

Skip Navigation
Start of main content.

Press Release // Immigration and Asylum

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

Global Refuge logo

Global Refuge Staff

July 20, 2023


July 20, 2023

Contact: Tim Young |

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.”

The Latest

  • Press Release

    February 23, 2024

    Global Refuge alarmed by Biden administration consideration of new asylum ban

    The Biden administration is considering executive action to further restrict asylum eligibility at the southern border for people who cross between official ports of entry.

    Read More
  • Press Release

    February 15, 2024

    HHS: Refugees & Asylees Generate $123.8 Billion Net Fiscal Benefit

    "This study demonstrates that refugee resettlement is firmly within our national interest, both in terms of maintaining our global humanitarian leadership and bolstering federal, state, and local resources."

    Read More
  • Press Release

    February 15, 2024

    White House Designates Deferred Enforced Departure for Palestinians

    "The DED designation offers much-needed support and protection to Palestinians living in our country at a time when their homeland is going through so much tumult. The ongoing conflict makes returning unsafe for the foreseeable future, so this decision demonstrates the Biden administration’s commitment to our nation being a global humanitarian leader during times of crisis.”

    Read More
  • Press Release

    February 4, 2024

    Senators announce bipartisan immigration legislation

    Global Refuge responds to bipartisan legislation concerning immigration policy, which has been tied to an emergency supplemental foreign assistance bill.

    Read More
  • Press Release

    January 29, 2024

    Global Refuge responds to President Biden statement on immigration negotiations

    Global Refuge is deeply troubled by President Biden’s statement on bipartisan senate negotiations concerning immigration policy, touting “a new emergency authority to shut down the border."

    Read More