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Ruben Garcia attends a rally in support of migrants and refugees in Texas in January (OSV News photo/Paul Ratje, Reuters)

The Texas Attorney-General is suing a network of Church-related ministries to migrants and refugees after one of them – Annunciation House in El Paso, Texas – refused to surrender records about the people it serves. Source: The Tablet.

Attorney-General Ken Paxton sought records that included information that would identify clients of Annunciation House’s ministry, any referrals the non-profit had made to legal services as well as any applications for federal funding.

The lawsuit seeks to revoke the ministries’ tax-exempt status, which would effectively force them to close.

“The Office of the Attorney-General reviewed significant public record information strongly suggesting Annunciation House is engaged in legal violations such as facilitating illegal entry to the United States, alien harbouring, human smuggling, and operating a stash house,” the office said in a statement on February 20.

Annunciation House issued its own statement, saying that the attorney general “has stated that it considers it a crime for a Catholic organisation to provide shelter to refugees”. It called the lawsuit “illegal, immoral, and anti-faith”.

Annunciation House was founded in 1976 by Ruben Garcia after a visit from Mother Teresa of Kolkata. The future saint suggested naming the ministry for the Annunciation.

The lawsuit tallies with the Republican Party’s nationwide effort, led by former president Donald Trump, to make the influx of undocumented refugees a political issue – even while Mr Trump has urged Congress not to pass bipartisan legislation that sought to address the migration problem. 

Catholic leaders rushed to defend the work of Annunciation House. “Our Church, our city and our country owe Annunciation House a deep debt of gratitude,” Bishop Mark Seitz of El Paso said.

“I know the guests at Annunciation House, those trapped on the other side of the border and those who have died trying to cross it,” he added.


Texas accused of ‘anti-faith’ lawsuit against migrants ministry (by Michael Sean Winters and Sophia Rayzan, The Tablet