Gov. Greg Abbott Will Reportedly Separate Families and Throw Some Undocumented Migrants in Prison
“This disgraceful condition must end,” said Texas Gov. Greg Abbott in June 2018 as then-President Donald Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy inspired widespread backlash. The directive held that every illegal border crossing—a misdemeanor first offense—be prosecuted, which saw thousands of children separated from their parents. Though former President Barack Obama also prosecuted parents when they were suspected of more serious crimes, it had not been customary to upend families over a misdemeanor. The Republican leader of the Lone Star State called it “tragic and heart-rending.”
Fast forward to 2021, and the political optics are different. President Joe Biden is in power. He has been roundly criticized by the GOP for what the party says is an overly liberal immigration system, though he has quietly preserved many of Trump’s restrictionist policies.
Abbott’s solution: He has directed the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) to clear out the Dolph Briscoe Unit, a state prison in Dilley, Texas, so that law enforcement can arrest and detain some undocumented migrants there, according to The Marshall Project’s Keri Blakinger. Adults arrested and facing such charges will not be able to keep their families intact.
The move is a part of Operation Lone Star, an Abbott initiative that saw “air, ground, marine, and tactical border security assets” deployed to the U.S.-Mexico border
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