Sep 29, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Texas to release nearly 250 migrants imprisoned under "catch and jail" policy

Photo of Greg Abbott speaking while raising a hand
Photo: Tom Fox/Pool via Getty Images

Texas will release nearly 250 migrants who were arrested under Gov. Greg Abbott's "catch and jail" border policy and imprisoned for over a month without being charged, The Texas Tribune reports.

Why it matters: Under Texas law, criminal defendants must be released from jail on a no-cost or affordable bond if prosecutors fail to file charges within a certain time frame.

  • Defense attorneys had argued that the continued imprisonment of the migrants constitutes widespread violation of state law and constitutional rights to due process.
  • The deadline for trespassing, which the vast majority of migrants were arrested for, is 15 or 30 days depending on the charge level.

Details: A state district judge granted a motion to release the migrants on Tuesday after migrants' attorneys secured agreements with the Val Verde county attorney and Kinney County prosecutors.

  • Val Verde will release 75 migrants, while Kinney County will release 168.

Yes, but: It's unclear what comes next. Migrants could face deportation if federal immigration authorities choose to detain them or stay in the U.S. to await legal proceedings, the Tribune notes.

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