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Texas AG trying to get temporary injunction against El Paso’s Annunciation House, claiming it engages in ‘criminal conduct’

UPDATE - ABC-7 spoke with Jerome Wesevich, the attorney representing Annunciation House in the lawsuit involving the State of Texas, about the allegation of harboaring migrants they know to be in the U.S. illegally.

"Annunciation House doesn't operate a stash house. It does not do these things that they say," the attorney said.

The statement provided by the Office of the Attorney General Wednesday morning cities testimony provided by Annunciation House as evidence against the organization.

The quote from the release reads;

"Earlier this year, OAG issued a request for documents from Annunciation House in an effort to understand its operations. Instead of producing a single document, Annunciation House sued the OAG. Since that time, Annunciation House’s own sworn testimony has shown that Annunciation House operates as a criminal enterprise. It knowingly shelters illegal aliens who evaded border patrol when crossing. It even goes into Mexico to retrieve aliens who border patrol denied."

Wesevich responded to that passage and the 'criminal enterprise' description, "It's inaccurate. It's wrong. There's nothing to support that. If they have that kind of evidence, they ought to show it to the court."

The filing submitted by Attorney General Ken Paxton's office is 585 pages in length, and included evidence from past weeks, months and years surrounding Annunciation house.

Testimony from a March 7th hearing from Director Ruben Garcia is included when he is quoted as stating "We accept their word" when asked about checking migrant's identification.

Documents include an April 2024 deposition with Annunciation House worker Mary Bull, where she is questioned on documents held by the organization.

ABC-7 reached out to the Office of the Attorney General to inquire if the OAG would be able to speak on-camera about this filing and the ongoing lawsuit, the office did not reply by the publishing of this article.

EL PASO, Texas (KVIA) -- Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a temporary injunction application against El Paso's Annunciation House.

"The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) has reviewed and obtained sworn testimony indicating that Annunciation House’s operations are designed to facilitate illegal border crossings and to conceal illegally present aliens from law enforcement," the AG's office stated Wednesday.

A few months ago, the AG's office tried to get Annunciation House to release documents connected to its work helping migrants in El Paso. Annunciation House countersued, refusing to hand over any documents.

"The Attorney General’s illegal, immoral and anti-faith position to shut down Annunciation House is unfounded," Annunciation House officials previously stated in February of 2024 when Paxton first tried to sue for the documents. "Annunciation House has provided hospitality to hundreds of thousands of refugees for over forty-six years. It is a work recognized by the Catholic Church and is listed in the National Catholic Directory. Annunciation House has done this work of accompaniment out of the scriptural and Gospel mandate to welcome the stranger. Annunciation House’s response to the stranger is no different from that of the schools who enroll children of refugees, the clinics and hospitals who care for the needs of refugees, and the churches, synagogues, and mosques who welcome families to join in worship."

“Any NGO facilitating the unlawful entry of illegal aliens into Texas is undermining the rule of law and potentially jeopardizing the safety and wellbeing of our citizens,” said Attorney General Paxton.

Article Topic Follows: On the Border

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Sam Harasimowicz


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