On Thursday, a Travis County state district judge ruled that Operation Lone Star violates the U.S. Constitution, setting a clear precedent for everybody arrested under Gov. Greg Abbott’s border mission to challenge their detainment.
Travis County state District Judge Jan Soifer’s ruling came in a legal challenge to the detention of Jesus Alberto Guzman Curipoma, a man from Ecuador who is seeking asylum.
Curipoma – an engineer with no criminal history – was arrested on Sept. 17 at a railroad switching yard on a misdemeanor criminal trespassing charge in Kinney County, along the Texas-Mexico border about 200 miles south of Austin. He has since been released on bond and remains in Texas, as reported by Austin American-Statesman.
He is just one among the thousands of migrants arrested as part of Abbott’s effort to combat illegal border crossings. Curipoma’s attorneys argued Operation Lone Star violates the supremacy clause of the U.S. Constitution, which stipulates that federal laws supersede state laws and that states cannot “obstruct or discriminate” with enforcement of immigration federal laws.
Soifer’s ruling has given lawyers a big win and a new weapon for anybody arrested under Operation Lone Star.
“We are in the process of evaluating strategies moving forward, and that is one of them,” said Kristin Etter, a special project director at Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, which represents about 800 defendants arrested as part of the operation.