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TX Gov. Abbott's "Operation Lone Star" Crumbles in Face of Habeas Suits

September 29, 2021 (1 min read)

Texas Tribune reporter Jolie McCulough (@jsmccullou) is hitting it out of the park covering this story, here and here.

Topline from Monday: "Hundreds of migrants arrested under Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s “catch and jail” border security push have been sitting in prison for weeks with no charges filed against them, and dozens were imprisoned for more than a month without being appointed lawyers.  Most of the men are Latino and many don’t speak English. Arrested on the border and dropped in prisons hundreds of miles away, they’ve spent weeks or months with little to no legal help, few opportunities to talk to their families and often fewer chances to find out what is happening to them or how long they will be imprisoned.  Citing the widespread violations of state laws and constitutional due process rights that have mushroomed as local justice systems remain overwhelmed by the volume of arrests, defense attorneys and immigrant advocacy groups are asking courts to release the men."

Topline from Tuesday: "Texas is set to release nearly 250 migrants who were arrested under Gov. Greg Abbott’s “catch and jail” border security policy and sat in prison for more than a month without being charged with crimes.  A state district judge granted a motion to release the men on no-cost bonds Tuesday morning after defense attorneys challenged the continued imprisonment of hundreds of migrants, citing widespread violations of state law and constitutional rights to due process. Texas law requires criminal defendants be released from jail on no-cost or affordable bond if prosecutors delay cases by not filing charges quickly. For trespassing, the charge on which the vast majority of the migrants were arrested, that deadline is set at 15 or 30 days, depending on the charge level.  Kristin Etter, an attorney with Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, which represents the migrants, said at the hearing before state District Judge Roland Andrade that her organization had made an agreement with the Val Verde county attorney to release 75 defendants arrested there who had been jailed without charges filed for more than 15 days. Kinney County prosecutors agreed to the release of another 168 defendants who had not had a charge filed against them in 30 days or more."