Home » Texas AG Paxton sues NGO aiding migrants, accuses it of encouraging illegal immigration

Texas AG Paxton sues NGO aiding migrants, accuses it of encouraging illegal immigration

by John Jefferson
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FIRST ON FOX: Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is suing a Catholic non-governmental organization operating in the state and wants to have its registration revoked, alleging that it is encouraging illegal immigration and operating a stash house for those entering illegally.

Paxton has sued Annunciation House — a Catholic nonprofit set up in the 1980s — and is seeking to revoke its registration to operate in Texas.

Annunciation House describes itself as a volunteer organization that “offers hospitality to migrants, immigrants, and refugees in El Paso, Texas.”

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“Rooted in Catholic social teaching, the volunteers of Annunciation House live simply and in community, in the same houses as the guests we serve, who are mostly from Mexico and Central America,” the group’s website says. “We also participate in advocacy and education around immigration issues. We seek to be a voice for justice and compassion, especially on behalf of the most marginalized of our society.”

But Paxton’s lawsuit accuses the group of “openly and flagrantly violating many provisions of law in a systemic fashion.” Specifically, it accuses it of providing shelter to illegal immigrants who have evaded law enforcement, of encouraging illegal immigration, of engaging in human smuggling and of operating a “stash house.”

“Annunciation House appears to be engaged in the operation of an illegal stash house by potentially allowing others to use its real estate to engage in human smuggling,” the lawsuit says.

Ken Paxton in front of Supreme Court

Paxton’s office had requested records from the organization to evaluate potential violations of federal law. However, the organization in turn sued the AG’s office, seeking a restraining order and accusing it of making an impossible demand due to its limited volunteer staff and of violating its “constitutional rights of association.”

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The lawsuit requests that its right to operate in Texas is terminated and also asks the court to appoint a receiver to liquidate its assets.

“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.”

In a statement, Annunciation House said it “does its work of accompaniment out of the Gospel mandate to welcome the stranger.”  

“This is no different from the work of schools who enroll migrant children, the clinics and hospitals who care for the needs of their ill, the churches, synagogues, and mosques who welcome their families to join in worship,” a spokesperson told Fox News Digital. “For the Attorney General to suddenly attack Annunciation House after forty-six years of service to the poor is simply shameful.”
 

The legal battle comes amid a broader fight between Texas, which has promoted border security and sought to block illegal immigrants entering the U.S., and the federal government, which has embraced the role of NGOs in processing and aiding illegal immigrants and has sought millions in funding from Congress for groups and communities that receive them.

There was a record 2.4 million migrant encounters in fiscal 2023, and December set a record for encounters with more than 301,000 in that month alone. The House last week impeached DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas over his handling of the crisis. Articles of impeachment now go to the Senate for a trial.

Fox News’ Aubrie Spady contributed to this report.



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