Texas Republicans seem pretty much above this whole constitution thing
Republican Gov. Greg Abbott’s plan to crack down on undocumented immigration across the US-Mexico border has led to the arrest of hundreds of migrants who now languish in Texas jails, often without being charged with a crime or subpoenaed to legal representation in violation of both their constitutional rights and the law of the state of Texas.
The Texas Tribune reported that as of Friday, nearly 900 migrant men captured in Abbott’s “Operation Lone Star” have been jailed for weeks without charge. Dozens more have been detained for more than a month without a designated lawyer.
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According to Texas state law cited by the Tribune, the state must appoint an attorney for defendants who request attorney but cannot afford one within “three business days” of the request. A separate Texas law requires prosecutors to file a complaint promptly. In the event of an intrusion – for which most of the migrants have been arrested – the deadline is 15 or 30 days, depending on the level of charges, according to the Tribune. Defendants are also guaranteed the right to counsel and the right not to be detained without formal charge for an unreasonable period of time under the U.S. Constitution. As the Tribune put it: âDefense lawyers have started calling on the courts to release migrants because local justice systems, overwhelmed by arrests under Governor Greg Abbott’s border security measures, routinely violate the law. state law and constitutional due process rights.
The border operation, which Abbott dubbed “capture and jail,” involves the state placing “No Entry” signs on private property near the border. This way, when an immigrant sets foot on the property, he can be arrested for trespassing, a felony that Abbott has become a Class A misdemeanor. Abbott has created a Texas border patrol force, which includes soldiers. state, National Guard and law enforcement agencies from other Republican states to make the arrests. Texas even reassigned two Texas prisons to hold migrants.
But once incarcerated, many remain in prison for weeks, often without charge or legal representation. Houston defense attorney Amrutha Jindal, who spoke to the Tribune, works for Restoring Justice, a Houston-based nonprofit that has been tasked with representing around 50 migrants. Many of their clients were arrested early last month and have been without legal representation for weeks.
âThey didn’t have anyone communicating to them about their cases or their process,â Jindal told the Tribune. “You are just sitting in jail, and the clerk has no record of you being there.”
“The system is collapsing without due process,” she said.
Texas RioGrande Legal Aid is a nonprofit organization that has volunteered to represent more than 500 migrants and refugees because, the group said in a statement, “only eight local defense attorneys were initially willing to take the cases. “.
The US-Mexico border has been in the news in recent weeks as thousands of migrants, many from Haiti, gathered there to seek refuge in the United States. Disturbing footage last week showed a U.S. border patrol on horseback swinging the reins of migrants. This prompted Homeland Security to launch an investigation into the incident, and President Biden promised “these people will pay.” But on Sunday, during an appearance on Fox News SundayAbbott told officers who may soon be fired that he would happily hire them as part of his Texas border patrol.
âYou have a job in the state of Texas,â Abbot said, adding, âI’m going to hire you to help Texas secure our border.â
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