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Spiritual liberty issues raised as Texas governor seeks to research teams serving to migrants

(RNS) — Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has requested the state lawyer to research nongovernmental organizations that he claims have assisted with “unlawful border crossings” alongside the U.S.-Mexico border close to El Paso, elevating non secular liberty issues amongst faith-based teams and spiritual organizers serving to migrants with medical wants and shelter.

Abbott, in his Dec. 14 letter to Attorney General Ken Paxton, didn’t establish any organizations or supply proof of NGOs “unlawfully orchestrating” border crossings on either side of the border. The governor urged Paxton to research the “position of NGOs in planning and facilitating the unlawful transportation of unlawful immigrants throughout our borders.”

Abbott’s workplace has not returned a request for remark.

Catholic activist Dylan Corbett mentioned that Abbott, with this transfer, is looking for to intimidate “the very people who find themselves working to deal with the fallout of a damaged immigration system on the border.”

“The fact is that almost all of the work that’s carried out on the border, the humanitarian work, the reception of refugees and migrants, is completed by faith-based organizations,” mentioned Corbett, who’s the manager director of Hope Border Institute. “We do that as an expression of our religion. We do that as an expression of our dedication to constructing a extra simply world as a result of we’re folks of religion.”

RELATED: As policies shift, Protestants and other faith groups join Catholics in helping immigrants at the border

Added Corbett: “It raises critical questions in regards to the abuse of workplace, and I additionally assume it raises critical questions on non secular liberty.”

Corbett mentioned organizations resembling his aren’t partaking in felony acts by serving to migrants alongside the border. In reality, he mentioned, Hope Border and comparable teams are “working to construct authorized pathways for folks emigrate legally.”

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott speaks throughout an election night time occasion Nov. 8, 2022, in McAllen, Texas. (AP Picture/David J. Phillip)

Abbott’s letter comes days earlier than a Trump-era coverage, often called Title 42, is set to end Dec. 21. The coverage denies migrants rights below U.S. and worldwide legislation to request asylum on public well being grounds of stopping the unfold of COVID-19. Immigrant rights advocates have mentioned President Joe Biden expanded this policy to use to Venezuelan migrants looking for asylum. 

The Southwest border has been experiencing a report variety of immigrant encounters, lots of that are repeat encounters, according to the news site El Paso Matters. Border enforcement brokers in El Paso and New Mexico are encountering as much as 2,500 migrants every day, the information website reported.

This has led organizations to work overdrive in aiding migrants in want. 

The Hope Border Institute, in a recent report, detailed how Biden’s enlargement of the Trump-era coverage “represents a major burden on an already strained security internet for migrants and refugees expelled to Mexico,” significantly Ciudad Juárez, a Mexican metropolis on the Rio Grande, simply south of El Paso.

The Hope Border Institute, in partnership with Bishop Mark Seitz of the Diocese of El Paso, has invested over $100,000 by way of its Border Refugee Help Fund to “reply to the continued arrival of migrants and asylum seekers to the US-Mexico border, together with the latest Venezuelans inhabitants,” based on the report.

With the expulsion of Venezuelans to Ciudad Juárez, Hope Border Institute helped supply meals, clothes and shelter. It established a program with medical professionals from El Paso who volunteer their time to offer main care to migrants. The group has additionally labored with teams in Ciudad Juárez “to make sure that folks on the transfer and in shelters have entry to each fundamental drugs and psychological well being providers,” based on the report.

Mentioned Corbett: “We’re not intimidated. We’re not afraid. We’re going to proceed to do our work. We all know that our companions alongside the border are going to proceed to do their work.”

The Related Press contributed to this report.

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