Civil Rights Groups Challenge Texas City’s Attempt to Bar Child Migrants

By Julianne Hing Jul 23, 2014

Civil rights and legal advocacy groups have filed a civil rights complaint over a Texas city’s attempt to block migrant children from being detained in town, reported The Center for Public Integrity.

In early July, League City, Tex., city council members voted 6-2, "to refuse requests or directives by federal agencies to permit or establish any facility for the purposes of processing, housing or detaining any illegal aliens, designated as ‘refugee’ or otherwise." The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) and Appleseed, a Texas-based legal advocacy group, filed the federal complaint, charging that League City’s resolution discriminates against the affected children and violates the Fair Housing Act and Civil Rights Act of 1964. The complaint "is a warning to other municipalities that are considering similar resolutions. Cities can’t accept federal funds, and then use them to discriminate," MALDEF attorney Marisa Bono told The Center for Public Integrity. 

After several years of steady increases in the numbers of child migrants arriving in the U.S., some 57,000 unaccompanied migrant children fleeing rampant violence and conscription into gangs primarily in Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, have so far been apprehended this year while attempting to seek refuge in the U.S. Still, overall flows of migrants crossing into the U.S. are still low. In the last year, Border Patrol has apprehended some 420,000 people, AP reported today, after three years of near historic lows of apprehensions. The last time apprehensions at the border were so low was in 1973, when the Border Patrol arrested 500,000 people, AP reported.