Assayer of Student Opinion.

The Prospector

Assayer of Student Opinion.

The Prospector

Assayer of Student Opinion.

The Prospector

Subscribe to our newsletter

* indicates required
Prospector Poll

Whataburger or In-N-Out

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

El Paso Annunciation House fights to save its historic history

Jose G. Saldana
The southern United States-Mexico border has experienced a large influx of migrants seeking refuge in El Paso and Annunciation House helps relieve border tension concerns by taking in immigrants and offering them a safe space.

District Judge Francisco Dominguez has ruled against Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton in his ongoing legal battle with an El Paso nonprofit that helps migrants.  

Paxton is seeking to shut down the non-profit Annunciation House, a faith-based nonprofit that shelters the migrant and refugee populations living along the border in El Paso. The decision to do so has left many people and residents in El Paso frustrated and disappointed, as they fight to save the shelter.  

“The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) reviewed significant public record information strongly suggesting Annunciation House is engaged in legal violations such as facilitating illegal entry to the United States, alien harboring, human smuggling, and operating a stash house,” the OAG stated in a press release.  

The attorney general claimed Annunciation House would have one day to turn over all requested documents. Failure to comply would result in an immediate shutdown of the organization and would revoke their license to operate.   

“I promptly emailed the Texas Attorney General’s office and said I, the Annunciation House, will respond in 30 days. I immediately got an email saying no, you have one day to respond, and if you don’t, we will close Annunciation House,” said attorney Jerry Wesevich in a press conference. “This left Annunciation House with no option but to sue Attorney General Paxton to challenge his abuse of power.”  

Since 1978, Annunciation House has served undocumented individuals by providing food, clothing, shelter and medical attention. According to the Annunciation House’s website, they offer the same services normally provided to the poor. However, many undocumented persons are often denied these basic services due to their immigration status.  

For many years, the southern United States-Mexico border has experienced a large influx of migrants seeking refuge in El Paso and Annunciation House helps relieve border tension concerns by taking in immigrants and offering them a safe space until they can be reunited with their friends and families.  

“We have been welcoming since 2014, the tens of thousands of refugees that border patrol, ICE, the immigration structure, the Department of Homeland Security processed and had to release and had no place to release them to,” said the director of Annunciation House, Ruben Garcia in a press conference. 

The OAG has since filed a suit against Annunciation House that may terminate their right to operate in Texas.  

If the organization faces closure, a large portion of El Paso’s migrant, refugee, and financially vulnerable community will be left without access to the resources provided by Annunciation House. 

Casa Vides is a long-term hospitality house managed by Annunciation House. It assists individuals undergoing political asylum cases, immigration proceedings, and medical situations. 

Casa Emaus, located in Ciudad Juárez, provides housing for volunteers and people of the surrounding community. Additionally, it has been used to host community meetings and border immersion groups.  

“Annunciation House has kept hundreds of thousands of refugees coming through our city off the streets and given them food. The work helps serve our local businesses, our city, and immigration officials to keep people off the streets and give them a shelter while they come through our community,” Annunciation House stated in a press release.  

The frustrations of OAG and Paxton’s decisions have made Annunciation House defend its purpose. 

“If the work that Annunciation House conducts is illegal, so too is the work of our local hospitals, schools and food banks.” Annunciation House stated in a press release. 

On Thursday, March 7, Judge Francisco Dominguez, who presides over the 205th District Court, oversaw the court hearing in the case of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton v. Annunciation House.  

Dominguez heard testimonies from both counsels and made his ruling on Monday, March 11.  

“The Attorney General’s efforts to run roughshod over Annunciation House, without regard to due process or fair play, call into question the true motivation for the Attorney General’s attempt to prevent Annunciation House from providing the humanitarian and social services that it provides,” said Dominguez. 

Dominguez has blocked OAGs efforts to close Annunciation House until the constitutionality of Paxton’s requests can be reviewed. 

Alyda Muela is a contributor and may be reached at [email protected]; on Instagram.

Leave a Comment
About the Contributors
Alyda Muela
Alyda Muela, Contributor/Writer
Alyda Muela is a sophomore at The University of Texas at El Paso. She is a contributor at The Prospector. She is a multimedia journalism major with a minor in general business. After graduation she hopes to travel the world to continue to pursue a career in journalism.
Jose G. Saldana
Jose G. Saldana, Contributor/Photographer
Jose G. Saldana is a senior at the University of Texas at El Paso majoring in digital media production. Jose was born in Los Angeles, California and raised in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico. Jose is a contributor at The Prospector and in the future he wants to dedicate to sports photography and videography around the world.
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All The Prospector Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *