For decades, the Annunciation House in downtown El Paso has provided shelter and food for immigrants, migrants and refugees.  Now Ken Paxton, Texas Attorney General and notorious pen thief is seeking to shut the shelter down, claiming it engages in human smuggling.

Collin County Jail
Collin County Jail

The Catholic affiliated Annunciation House has helped keep hundreds of thousands of refugees off the streets since it was founded in 1978. So, how does AG Paxton get to “human smuggling”?

It’s based on his claim that they sometimes provide transportation to migrants.

The founder of Annunciation House is Ruben Garcia and he did not hold back on his condemnation of Ken Paxton. Per reporting from El Paso Matters Garcia said, “The attorney general’s illegal, immoral and anti-faith position…in unfounded”.

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On February 7, investigators from Paxton’s office went to Annunciation House’s office with a request to examine records related to its operation. The very next day, the shelter got a temporary restraining order from District Court Judge Francisco Dominguez, keeping the records from Paxton.  The AG then filed a counter-claim, alleging that Annunciation is violating state law by not turning over the records.

A hearing is scheduled with Judge Dominguez to consider an injunction against the attorney general. An injunction, or temporary injunction in this case, is a step stronger than the temporary restraining order that was granted earlier this month.

Ruben Garcia says that if what Annunciation House does is illegal then is the work of food banks, hospitals and schools. He has also expressed concern that this could have a chilling effect on charity in El Paso.  Basically, people might worry that if they give a migrant a blanket or donate food, THEY might be prosecuted by Paxton’s office as well.

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