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Catholic Leader Condemns Paxton’s Efforts To Close Migrant Shelter

Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office asked a judge to shut down a Catholic shelter for helping undocumented immigrants and not turning over documents the office requested. The judge heard arguments on Monday and plans to rule in two weeks.

Assistant Attorney General Rob Farquharson told district Judge Francisco Dominguez that Annunciation House, the shelter, runs “stash houses”, facilitates illegal border crossings, conceals “illegally present aliens from law enforcement” and did not turn over documents asked by the AG’s office.

Jerome Wesevich, an attorney representing the shelter, called the arguments “utter nonsense.” He noted that Paxton’s office gave the shelter only one day to turn over the documents.

Wesevich also said Paxton’s attempt to close the shelter was an “obvious attack on Annunciation House’s practice of the Catholic faith and its command, “’Simply love one another,'” and an “attack on religious freedom.”

According to OSV News, Paxton’s office seemed to downplay the shelter’s religious component in court filings, writing that Annunciation House members “appear to subscribe to a more Bohemian set of ‘seven commandments,’ including commandments to ‘visit’ people when ‘incarcerated’ and ‘care (for them) when they’re sick.'”

Other Catholic leaders have said they will not back down from their obligations to care for migrants and refugees, reiterating that attempts to close the shelter would compromise their religious freedom.

“Primarily, we have to respond to the mandate of the Gospel, which is that a stranger must see the face of Christ,” Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, told OSV News. “And if that liberty is restricted — we obviously want to respect the law — but if that liberty is restricted, then yes, our religious liberty is being restricted, because we can’t put into practice the precepts of the Gospel.”

Even the head of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis said Paxton’s attempts to close the shelter were “sheer madness.”

Annunciation House operates several shelters in El Paso, providing food and shelter to immigrants and refugees. It also helps them fill out legal documents to apply for asylum in the United States. Under federal law, anyone who crosses into the U.S. can apply for asylum, even if they entered the country illegally.

RA Staff
RA Staff
Written by RA News staff.


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