MALDEF STATEMENT ON APPELLATE COURT LIMITING INTERPRETATION OF TEXAS HARBORING STATUTE
February 23, 2017
San Antonio, TX - MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund) challenged a provision of Texas’s HB 11 that made it a new state felony to "harbor" someone in the United States without legal documents.
A federal court issued a preliminary injunction blocking Texas from enforcing the harboring provision of HB 11. State officials then appealed the decision to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.
A three-judge panel of the Fifth Circuit today ruled that MALDEF’s clients, simple landlords and homeless shelter workers, cannot be prosecuted under the state harboring law.
Please attribute the following statement on the court's decision to Nina Perales, MALDEF vice president for litigation and lead counsel in the case:
"We consider today’s ruling a positive result. In the trial court, the Texas Attorney General refused to issue an interpretation of the statute that would protect our clients from prosecution. Today, the Fifth Circuit did Ken Paxton's job for him. The court ruled that our clients are not harboring the undocumented immigrants that they serve. The Fifth Circuit provided us with a narrow definition of harboring that will prevent Texas law enforcement officers from arresting humanitarian workers and landlords for simply providing shelter and conducting business with undocumented immigrants.
In these days of increased concern that state and local police will take up the duties of federal immigration agents, today's ruling restricts Texas to only the most limited enforcement of the harboring statute."
Read the decision HERE.
Founded in 1968, MALDEF is the nation's leading Latino legal civil rights organization. Often described as the "Latino Legal Voice for Civil Rights in America" MALDEF promotes social change through advocacy, communications, community education, and litigation in the areas of education, employment, immigrant rights, and political access. For more information on MALDEF, please visit: www.maldef.org.