Texas AG Ken Paxton sues Catholic NGO, accuses the 'charity' of engaging in human trafficking at the border

EL PASO, TX- Texas government has targeted a Catholic non-profit (NGO) that shelters illegal immigrants in El Paso, ABC News reports. 

Officials from Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office visited the “Annunciation House” on February 7 and demanded the organization provide documentation, including the identities of all illegal immigrants the non-profit helped, giving them 24 hours to do so.

The next day, an attorney representing the charity filed a lawsuit to delay the release of the records while questioning the legality of the AG’s request. 

“The AG has now made explicit that its real goal is not records but to shut down the organization. It has stated that it considers it a crime for a Catholic organization to provide shelter to refugees,” Annunciation House said in a statement earlier this week. 

“The Attorney General’s illegal, immoral, and anti-faith position to shut down Annunciation House is unfounded. Annunciation House has provided hospitality to hundreds of thousands of refugees for over forty-six years. It is a work recognized by the Catholic Church and is listed in the National Catholic Directory,” the statement continued. 

Paxton’s office, however, disputes those claims and accuses the organization of engaging in what amounts to human smuggling. Paxton says Annunciation House informs illegal immigrants in its shelters about the US legal system and how to file an asylum claim. He said the organization is “worsening illegal immigration” into the United States. 

“The chaos at the southern border has created an environment where NGOs, funded with taxpayer money from the Biden administration, facilitate astonishing horrors, including human smuggling,” Paxton said in a statement. “While the federal government perpetuates the lawlessness destroying this country, my office works day in and day out to hold these organizations responsible for worsening illegal immigration.” 

Annunciation House runs several shelters and is one of the most well-known organizations in South Texas. 

The organization plans to hold a press conference on Friday to discuss the lawsuit. 

“Annunciation House’s response to the stranger is no different from that of the schools who enroll the children of refugees, the clinics and hospitals who care for the needs of refuge3es, and the churches, synagogues, and mosques who welcome families to join in worship…if the work that Annunciation House conducts is illegal–so too is the work of our local hospitals, schools and food banks,” they wrote in a statement.

Texas has attempted to fill the void where the Biden administration has appeared to fail miserably at controlling the border. A new Texas law, SB-4, is slated to take effect on March 5. That measure would allow Texas law enforcement officials to arrest people suspected of entering the country illegally.

It would also permit a judge to order their removal and authorize Texas law enforcement officers to transport illegals to the border so they can return to Mexico, regardless of whether or not that is their country of origin. Biden’s Justice Department is currently challenging that law. 

A May report from the Heritage Foundation found that human trafficking has been exacerbated under Biden’s lax immigration policies. Last fiscal year, arrests for trafficking increased by 50%; convictions increased by 80%. The overwhelming majority of victims of trafficking–72 percent–are immigrants, a majority of them illegal. 

Heritage cited a study from the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women and found that “60% of unaccompanied alien children, or UACs, are caught by cartels and exploited through child pornography and drug trafficking.” To put that number into perspective, over 150,000 UACs crossed into the United States last year. 

Since Biden’s inauguration in January 2021, over 300,000 alien minor encounters have been made at the border as of last year. 

“Not surprisingly, after Congress passed that provision, the number of UACs from non-contiguous countries soared, as parents (and more importantly smugglers) realized that section 235…all but guaranteed that any such child who could make it illegally into the United States would be released into this country,” said Andrew Arthur of the Center for Immigration Studies. 

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It's about time. The Catholic Church has used its status & protections as a church to get away with breaking laws. There are other churches involved, as well as other NGOs. Texas needs to shut them all down. "the Feds told me to" is not a license to break the law.

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