McALLEN, Texas (Border Report) — With just a week to go before Title 42 is set to expire, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Wednesday ordered the investigation into non-governmental organizations, including groups in El Paso, to ensure they are not violating border immigration laws.
In a letter Abbott sent Wednesday to Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, the governor wrote “there have been recent reports that non-governmental organizations (NGOs) may have assisted with illegal border crossings near El Paso. We further understand NGOs may be engaged in unlawfully orchestrating other border crossings through activities on both sides of the border, including in sectors other than El Paso.”
“In light of these reports, I am calling on the Texas Attorney General’s Office to initiate an investigation into the role of NGOs in planning and facilitating the illegal transportation of illegal immigrants across our borders. In addition, I stand ready to work with you to craft any sensible legislative solutions your office may propose that are aimed at solving the ongoing border crisis and the role that NGOs may play in encouraging it,” Abbott wrote.
Thousands of migrants per day currently are crossing from Juarez, Mexico, into El Paso. And officials fear upwards of 4,500 asylum seekers could cross if enforcement of Title 42 ends on Dec. 21.
A federal judge has ordered the lifting of Title 42 — a public health law enacted in 2020 during the Trump administration to stop the spread of coronavirus — by Dec. 21.
However, Texas along with 18 other Republican-led states earlier this week filed an emergency legal request to try to extend Title 42 for seven more days past the Dec. 21 deadline, CBS News reports.
The states that joined in the request also include Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming.
They are requesting a seven-day administrative suspension of the ruling that declared Title 42 illegal so they can ask the Supreme Court to intervene.
In his letter Wednesday, Abbott cited 2,600 migrants who crossed over a 24-hour period on Sunday into El Paso.
Many migrants have been released on the streets after detention facilities and migrant shelters exceeded capacity.
“These numbers are likely to increase in the coming weeks. Although the burden to address the ongoing border crisis should not fall to Texas, the federal government has
failed to take action to address this problem,” Abbott wrote.
The Biden administration has appealed the order to lift Title 42.
On Wednesday, immigrant rights activists and faith groups delivered to the White House a petition signed by over 1,600 people to request an end to Title 42.
“The courts have affirmed what we’ve always known – the enactment of Title 42 was arbitrary and capricious,” Imani Cruz, migration policy advocacy coordinator for the American Friends Service Committee, said in a statement. “The United States must uphold access to claiming asylum, as required by federal law and international agreements. Asylum-seekers should be welcomed with dignity, afforded all due process rights, and not subjected to further harm.”
The groups were holding a vigil in front of the White House and included organizations affiliated with the Welcome With Dignity Campaign, which includes over 100 organizations advocating for asylum rights.