The Impact of Texas' Immigration Policies on Asylum Seekers
Understanding Operation Lone Star
Operation Lone Star, launched in March 2021 by Texas Governor Greg Abbott, is a significant and controversial initiative aimed at addressing the rise in illegal immigration along the Texas-Mexico border. The effort involving multiple state agencies has resulted in over 390,500 illegal immigrant apprehensions and more than 30,000 criminal arrests. It has been extended into 2023 due to its perceived success. However, critics argue that Operation Lone Star unfairly targets the migrant community for arrest, jail, and deportation.
Recently, and despite the order's stated health and safety aims, Operation Lone Star has come under scrutiny following a trooper's claim of 'inhumane' orders at the border. There are also legal challenges, with the Department of Justice planning to sue Texas over Gov. Abbott's floating wall and a small business owner suing Gov. Abbott over Rio Grande buoys.
What About Asylum Seekers?
Despite the ongoing debates, Operation Lone Star's impact on the Texas-Mexico border is undeniable, shaping immigration policies and practices in the region. It has also significantly impacted asylum seekers looking to enter the U.S. through Texas.
In particular, critics of the operation argue that it creates a hostile environment for asylum seekers. Additionally, under Operation Lone Star, those seeking asylum were often turned away at the border or redirected elsewhere, creating confusion and turmoil for thousands of immigrants.
Jurisdictional Problems with Operation Lone Star
As quoted in an article by The Atlantic, David Leopold, former president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, has pointed out that “U.S. immigration law governs the border; Texas law doesn’t govern the border." As such, federal laws, and not Texas state laws, dictate the asylum process, and Greg Abbott's Operation Lone Star is potentially in conflict with federal immigration laws.
Some of the problems of jurisdiction and Operation Lone Star have also led to lawsuits levied against Texas by the DOJ. Additionally, 86 House Democrats have petitioned the Biden Administration to intervene in the situation.
What to Do If You or a Loved One Wants to Seek Asylum in Texas
If you or a loved one is seeking asylum in the U.S. via the Texas border, you may feel scared and uncertain. This is a difficult time for immigrants, especially those who must contend with Texas' current policies. Generally speaking, we strongly encourage asylum seekers and refugees to consult with a skilled immigration attorney like ours at Christensen Immigration Attorneys.
An immigration attorney conversant in both federal and Texas laws can help you with the following:
- Understanding the immigration process for asylum seekers
- Preparation of your application and supporting documentation
- Representation in court
- Guidance on your rights and obligations as an asylum seeker
Being able to benefit from an attorney's knowledge and experience can make a significant difference in the complex and high-stakes process of seeking asylum. As you know, the asylum process can be stressful and emotionally draining. While they are not therapists, working with an attorney you feel confident in may provide you with a level of emotional support that comes from knowing that your case is being handled professionally.
Do you have questions about seeking asylum in the U.S.? Contact the legal team at Christensen Immigration Attorneys to schedule a confidential consultation today. We are standing by and ready to help you and your loved ones during this challenging process.