migrants to replace inmates at South Texas prison | New policies


By TERRY WALLACE, Associated Press

DALLAS (AP) – Texas is transferring inmates from a state prison to make room for migrants held by state officials, a prison system spokesperson said Thursday.

The prison system began moving inmates from the Dolph Briscoe Unit Prison in Dilley to other prisons on Wednesday, said Jeremy Desel, spokesperson for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. The medium to minimum security prison located about 113 kilometers southwest of San Antonio employs 233 people, including 165 security guards, and can hold 1,384 inmates, according to the TDCJ website.

“This action will allow the unit to serve as a central detention center for non-TDCJ detainees who have been arrested and charged with a state offense,” Desel said in a statement.

Dilley is already the location of a US Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention center, the privately run South Texas Family Residential Center, which can accommodate up to 2,400 inmates, including children.

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The move was made in response to Gov. Greg Abbott’s order that state authorities arrest and confine migrants who are in the country illegally and have committed a state or federal crime, he said. declared.

“Fortunately, the agency currently has the capacity of beds available to help with Operation Lone Star,” Desel said.

On Wednesday, Abbott announced that state prisons were looking for additional beds to house the growing number of those arrested. Abbott also said he would spend $ 250 million in state money and crowdfunding to continue building walls along the Texas-Mexico border that then-President Donald Trump started. and that President Joe Biden had suspended.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection said in a statement they would not comment on Abbott’s measures and “are in the state of Texas to talk about any measures they are taking to. strengthen their position of application “.

Abbott’s measures may be subject to legal challenges, as the United States Supreme Court has consistently held that immigration law enforcement is the exclusive province of the federal government, including the overturning of immigration laws. Arizona Republicans’ efforts a decade ago.

However, Abbott was scathing on Wednesday in his criticism of the Biden administration’s immigration and border protection policies. A spokeswoman for Abbott reiterated the criticism Thursday in a statement.

“As President Biden continues to ignore the crisis at our southern border and his duties to our country, Texas is stepping up and respecting the rule of law,” spokeswoman Renae Eze said.

She also said that the selection of the Briscoe unit for the detention of migrants was due to the fact that the prison “was in a strategic location to house those arrested for committing a crime along the border and had sufficient staff to manage the establishment “.

She did not respond to whether the prison employees were qualified to work with migrants who had not been convicted of crimes.

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