Jeff Landry subpoenas draw rebuke from immigrant groups |  Local Elections
4 mins read

Jeff Landry subpoenas draw rebuke from immigrant groups | Local Elections

Three small nonprofits that help immigrants in Louisiana navigate the asylum process and get on their feet are caught in the middle of a legal battle launched by Attorney General Jeff Landry and top legal officers in other Republican states against federal rules for asylum seekers.

Landry, who is running for governor, subpoenaed the three groups – Home is Here NOLA, Immigration Services and Legal Advocacy, and Louisiana Advocates for Immigrants in Detention – demanding they identify all the asylum seekers the groups aid, any government support they receive and contracts between the groups and the government, among other things.

Now the organizations are asking a judge to quash the request. They argue the subpoenas would subject their clients to retaliation from Landry, as well as producing a chilling effect on their work.

One of the groups, Advocates for Immigrants in Detention, partners with churches to provide support to immigrants, and argued in its motion that Landry’s subpoenas compromise the abilities of the organization and its religious partners to “perform their religious obligations.”

A hearing in the case is slated for April 6 before Judge David Johnson, who served as US attorney for the Western District of Louisiana before being nominated to the federal bench by President Donald Trump.

Bill Quigley, director of the Loyola Law Clinic, who is representing the groups alongside the Center for Constitutional Rights and Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP of New York, called Landry’s subpoenas an “abuse of power.” He questioned why Landry targeted small nonprofits instead of Catholic Charities or the several university law clinics in Louisiana who provided aid to larger numbers of immigrants.

Home is Here NOLA is run by two full time and one part time staffer; ISLA is run by seven people; LA AID is run by AmeriCorps VISTA and two part-time employees, according to court filings.

“I don’t know how they picked them but these are among the smallest groups in the state,” he said. “ It’s a bully move to try to intimidate these folks into identifying people that the attorney general can target.”

“The AG is on record again and again and again opposing immigration and immigrants,” Quigley added. “They’re very reluctant to turn anything over to him.”

Landry’s office didn’t respond to messages seeking comment Wednesday.

Landry is seeking the documents to bolster his case against the Biden administration over the new asylum rules. He is trying to get the information to prove he has standing in the case, according to court filings.

Landry and several other Republican attorneys general filed the lawsuit in 2022 against US Attorney General Merrick Garland and others. The suit argues that new rules that seek to reduce a backlog of asylum seekers from the court system would lead to a “substantial increase” in the approval of asylum claims – which are often made because immigrants fear violence at the border or in their home country . In turn, they argued, states like Louisiana would have to spend more money on education, health care and law enforcement if immigrants lived there.

The suit is part of a broader battle Republican-led states are waging against the Biden administration over its immigration policies; Landry joined Texas in another legal challenge to federal immigration rules.

Related Posts