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This article was originally published on July 08, 2022.

Yesterday, Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued an executive order that unlawfully seeks to arrest people seeking asylum, and other people without status in the United States, and return them to the border at a port of entry. The order is flatly illegal. It seeks to enforce purported violations of federal immigration law, something the Supreme Court has expressly held states cannot do. The order itself also violates federal immigration law, which makes clear that people have a legal right to seek asylum in the United States even if they enter the country without authorization. And if it is implemented, the order will force survivors of gender-based violence, and other vulnerable people pursuing that right to seek protection, out of their communities and into danger.

“Governor Abbott’s executive order dehumanizes immigrants and foments racism and xenophobia,” said Rachel Sheridan, Litigation Counsel at the Tahirih Justice Center. “Such dangerous rhetoric risks the security of survivors who legally seek access to asylum.”

Both Texas and the federal government must focus their resources on creating a safe and welcoming process for people seeking asylum at ports of entry. That course—and only that course—will ensure the safety of the people seeking asylum and of U.S. border communities. Governor Abbott’s order will instead increase the risk of tragedies like the deaths of 53 people in San Antonio last week and of violence rooted in xenophobia, against all Texan people of color.

For further comments, please contact Karla Flores at [email protected].

The Tahirih Justice Center is a national, nonprofit organization that serves immigrant survivors of gender-based violence. By amplifying the experiences of survivors in communities, courts, and Congress, Tahirih’s mission is to create a world in which all people share equal rights and live in safety and with dignity.