Church World Service Responds to Reports of Cruel, Inhumane and Deadly Treatment of Migrants at the U.S. Southern Border

July 19, 2023

Washington, D.C.—In response to reports detailing the horrific and prejudicial actions that Texas State Troopers have been ordered to perpetrate against migrants and asylum seekers at the U.S. southern border, Church World Service today called on Governor Greg Abbott to immediately halt hostilities against aspiring Americans and rescind policies victimizing the vulnerable on his state’s border with Mexico. 

“Governor Abbott, explicitly and implicitly, is sanctioning tactics at the border that are nothing short of barbaric. Troopers are being instructed to push children back into the Rio Grande, buoys are being put into place that will increase risk of drowning for those seeking refuge, and our borders are being militarized. This is reprehensible, immoral, and stands in stark contrast to our values as Americans,” said Danilo Zak, Acting Director of Policy and Advocacy at CWS. “Thus far, Governor Abbott has been able to employ these horrific policies without significant opposition from the Biden administration. The president must act, as there is no room for avoidance when it comes to the drowning of children. The White House would have history, morality, and decency on its side if it took action to prevent further harm and loss of life. Migrants deserve to be welcomed with dignity, and until the billions of American tax dollars being spent on border militarization are instead invested in humane, welcoming, and effective shelter and asylum processes, we will continue to hear stories like this.”

Church World Service continues to demand accountability and immediate change on the issue of the legal right to seek asylum. Governor Abbot’s policies dehumanize, harm, and take the lives of individuals, families, and children that are seeking safety. Over the last several years, there has been a disturbing increase of migrant deaths at the border, including the recent death of 8-year old Anadith Tanay Reyes Alvarez, who passed away in CBP custody after being denied medical attention for over 72 hours. 

CWS notes that according to data collected by the International Organization for Migration, the U.S.-Mexico border is now considered the most deadly land crossing in the world. This is not by happenstance but by design, and is the direct result of deterrence and enforcement-based policies that do little to reduce arrivals and instead place those seeking protection in greater danger. The organization urges the Biden administration to intervene in the situation in Texas and do more to prevent the needless and cruel loss of life.

For more information, or to speak with Zak, contact