The browser you are using is not supported. Please consider using a modern browser.

Skip Navigation
Start of main content.

Press Release // Immigration and Asylum

LIRS Condemns Texas Governor Abbott’s Inhumane Border Deterrence Tactics

LIRS logo

LIRS Staff

July 20, 2023


July 20, 2023

Contact: Tim Young |

Washington, D.C. – According to concerns raised by a Texas state trooper deployed as part of Governor Abbott’s Operation Lone Star, inhumane practices directed by state authorities have led to harm and mistreatment of vulnerable migrants seeking safety at the U.S.-Mexico border.

According to the email sent to supervisors, Texas troopers were ordered to thrust defenseless children and nursing infants back into the Rio Grande, a pregnant woman having a miscarriage was found caught in razor wire strung by the state of Texas, and a four-year-old girl passed out from heat exhaustion after she tried to go through razor wire and was pushed back by Texas National Guard soldiers. The trooper also expressed his opposition to the state’s alleged policy of denying access to water amid scorching heat. Additionally, Texas authorities have recently deployed a wall of deterrence buoys that have pushed asylum seekers towards more treacherous areas of the river, increasing the risk of drownings.

Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS) unequivocally condemns these actions as cruel, inhumane, and unnecessary. The following is a statement by Krish O’Mara Vignarajah, President & CEO of LIRS, the nation’s largest faith-based nonprofit dedicated exclusively to serving refugees, asylum seekers, and other vulnerable immigrant groups:

“These new accounts expose a heart-wrenching lack of regard for the sanctity of human dignity as Governor Abbott ratchets up rogue border security efforts. The thought of asylum seekers having to flee violence and persecution, pass through a hotbed of dangerous jungle terrain and exploitation, only to make it to the golden doors of the United States and find them covered in razor wire is reprehensible.

These actions betray the very essence of who we are as a nation of refuge for those fleeing for their lives. Desperate children and families seeking safety are not cause for existential panic and draconian experiments in deterrence. These tactics further reveal the deeply flawed logic at the core of such inhumane deterrence policies – namely, that asylum seekers would flee across thousands of miles to reach the US border, sustained solely on their hopes and dreams of a better life, and suddenly decide to turn heel and head home because of improvised buoys and razor wire. This is not an abstract thought experiment: at least 853 migrants died trying to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in fiscal year 2022, making it the deadliest year ever on record.

These reported incidents, vivid in their portrayal of mistreatment and harm inflicted upon the most vulnerable, strike at the very core of our shared values. Governor Abbott must swiftly put an end to the policies that have created an atmosphere of suffering, fear, and despair for those who have already endured unimaginable hardships. The world is watching, and it is our shared responsibility to ensure that both Texas and the United States remain a beacon of humanity, not symbols of callous indifference.”

The Latest

  • Press Release · Immigration and Asylum

    November 29, 2023

    LIRS Opposes Congressional Efforts to End Asylum Protections in Budget Negotiations

    As a bipartisan group of Senators continue negotiations on President Biden’s $106 billion funding request, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service urges lawmakers to safeguard critical asylum protections

    Read More
  • Press Release · Empowering Refugees

    November 20, 2023

    Overcoming Poverty and Raising Wages: “New American Cities” Workforce Development Program

    LIRS and Yoga Alliance will establish a pilot program that will incorporate yoga to help refugees and immigrants heal from the emotional trauma they experienced on their journeys to the United States.

    Read More
  • News · Immigration and Asylum

    November 10, 2023

    Unsung Heroes: Immigrants in the U.S. Military

    An estimated 700,000 foreign-born veterans call this country home, while approximately 45,000 immigrants are currently defending our freedoms as members of the armed forces.

    Read More
  • Press Release · Empowering Refugees

    November 9, 2023

    LIRS Partners with Yoga Alliance to Develop Innovative Mental Health Programming

    LIRS and Yoga Alliance will establish a pilot program that will incorporate yoga to help refugees and immigrants heal from the emotional trauma they experienced on their journeys to the United States.

    Read More
  • Press Release

    November 2, 2023

    LIRS Urges Pakistan to Halt Afghan Deportation Campaign

    Nearly 120,000 unaccompanied migrant children entered the U.S. government's shelter system in Fiscal Year (FY) 2023. LIRS stresses the need for more robust protections, additional resources for post-release services, and access to legal representation

    Read More