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Annunciation House officials react to Judge’s ruling to deny Texas’ request to shut them down

EL PASO, Texas (KVIA) -- 205th District Judge Francisco X. Dominguez issued a pair of rulings on Tuesday stopping Texas' request to shut down the Annunciation House that the state claimed to be operating a stash house.

ABC-7 spoke with the Director of Annunciation House, Ruben Garcia. He said immigration is an issue that still needs to be discussed and taken care of. Since the lawsuit was filed earlier this year, volunteers have left the shelter network and fewer people have signed up to help with all the refugees.

"The impact on individuals not wanting to volunteer, not only with Annunciation House but with other NGOs, is a really serious issue. And it clearly affected us and it continues to affect us.," Garcia said.

Judge Dominguez also said in his ruling, that the state's request to obtain private documents from the Annunciation House was "unconstitutionally vague."

"The record before this Court makes clear that the Texas Attorney General’s use of the request to examine documents from Annunciation House was a pretext to justify its harassment of Annunciation House employees and the persons seeking refuge. This Court previously expressed its concern that the Attorney General did not identify what laws he believed were being violated from the outset," Dominguez wrote in one of the rulings.

Attorney Jerry Wesevich, who represents Annunciation House, also mentioned at this point they hope Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton will see and respect the bounds that the court has described on his power. Wesevich also said they haven't had any communications with the Texas A.G.'s office about today's rulings.

"All we can say is that he has no right to do what he attempted to do under the law," Attorney Wesevich said.

According to Wesevich, there is no legal basis for closing a nonprofit that provides social services to refugees.

"The timeline is they have 30 days from when the court enters a final judgment, and I would not be surprised if the court enters a final judgment today. I have asked the court to do that to make sure that if the Attorney General appeals within 30 days from today," Wesevich said.

Article Topic Follows: On the Border

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Heriberto Perez

Heriberto Perez Lara reports for ABC-7 on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border.


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