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MONTGOMERY, Ala. – The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) released the following statement from Efrén C. Olivares, Deputy Legal Director for the Immigrant Justice Project, in response to reports that Texas National Guard troops are detaining migrants near the U.S-Mexico border. 
“Federal law dictates that only certain agents are authorized to apprehend individuals based on their immigration status — and that does not include the Texas National Guard. The use of National Guard troops to stop and detain individuals is an outrageous attempt to circumvent the law and rather than making anyone or any place safer, it endangers immigrants, communities and officers alike. This unlawful action must be ended immediately.
“For months we have seen the build-up of troops at the Southern Border and an escalating, dehumanizing rhetoric by far-right, anti-immigrant groups. Involving National Guard troops in this way is contrary to our immigration laws and human rights standards and further militarizes our border. The fact that these troops are arresting individuals after only 40 hours of training on the use of force—including potentially the use of lethal force—is alarming and irresponsible, and should be of concern to the American public.
“We call on the federal government to demand that Texas agencies refrain from detaining individuals due to their immigration status and let the federal agencies exercise their exclusive authority over immigration enforcement. Unless that happens, there is little doubt we will see the political actors pushing this hateful anti-immigrant agenda continue to be emboldened and further escalate.”