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Butterfly Sanctuary Director Chases Intruders in Texas Troopers – Rolling Stone

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national butterfly The center — a nature preserve in Mission, Texas, just north of the Rio Grande — has been under threat for years build potential a border wall and even far-right QAnon extremists false claims It is a hub of human trafficking. In that time, the sanctuary’s director, Marianna Wright, has developed a tough stance against those who try to intimidate or harass her staff.

Now Wright has gone viral again, this time for challenging Texas Department of Public Safety troopers who entered the property on Thursday along with US Border Patrol agents, believed to have reported migrants crossing into the area Was found “They have been told that as long as they are assisting the ‘Border Patrol,’ the Fourth Amendment does not apply,” tweeted Center, noting that this is not true. (While the Fourth Amendment protects against unreasonable searches and seizures, federal border officials enjoy a Exception Warrants or probable cause are not required by law and generally in their areas of operation. State law enforcement does not have similar powers.)

Wright explains Rolling stone That Thursday morning, the center’s grounds manager alerted him that officials were “swarming” the property. He grabbed his phone to start recording them. The officers claimed that they were searching for the migrants. The agents subjected two middle-aged Latino men working at the center to inspection by canines. A Border Patrol helicopter circled low overhead.

“It’s always bullshit,” Wright says of the reasons USBP appears at the center. “So they’re like, ‘Oh, a group just passed by.’ And we’re like, ‘Really? It’s 11 in the morning, we’ve been open for three hours, we haven’t encountered anybody. Why are you here now?’” But, says Wright, while some of her co-workers concede that The entire group was with the Border Patrol, they realized that some of the men had Texas DPS patches – while still “wearing camo and tactical greens, so that the average citizen” would assume they were USBP agents.

As he approached, one of these men “had already cordoned off the property because he knows he has no legitimate right to be there,” Wright says. The next officer he spoke to got into a truck driven by a Border Patrol agent. According to Wright, the two claimed that while they did not have a right to be there, they were allowed to enter private property without a warrant “while working with the Border Patrol”. A third soldier, seen in a picture shared on Twitter by the National Butterfly Center, reportedly made similar excuses. “And I’m getting him off the property. And he keeps saying the same things,” Wright says, while he “had staff at the center standing by the visitors’ pavilion to make sure they didn’t arrest me or Photographing and recording me to make sure I got shot or whatever, because they’re going to claim that the unarmed butterfly woman felt threatened by her phone.

shared with Wright in email correspondence Rolling stoneVictor Escalon, DPS regional director for South Texas, stressed that his troopers’ actions were covered by a federal statute authorizing state and local officials to aid and cooperate with the Border Patrol. But in another email, attorneys from the law firm Debevoise & Plimpton representing the National Butterfly Center ongoing litigation disputed their interpretation of this code, against the Department of Homeland Security to prevent construction of a border wall through the preserve. Texas DPS did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Rolling stone,

Note: There was no public safety issue. Furthermore, the head of the TX DPS is giving Escalon the bag and tacitly recognizing that the USBP has authority non-transferrable, meaning it cannot be passed to anyone else by the Border Patrol for convenience or fascist expediency .

– National Butterfly ???? (@NatButterflies) May 26, 2023

Wright sees these visits – a regular headache for the center – as a habit of agencies expanding their authority while increasing their budgets. She cites her “for-profit partners”, including Fox News, as “helpful in acquiring assets that can be used to continue the narrative that has brought them billions of dollars in funding and new Law enforcement gives authority.” Earlier this year, she says, the DPS and USBP brought a fox cameraman to the butterfly sanctuary.

Wright also claims that security concerns about this area of ​​the border region are exaggerated. “Last month, again, for the eighth time in ten years, we had our sold-out Girl Scout sleepover under the stars at the Butterfly Center, where little girls and their moms camp out on the border,” she says. “no event.”

Currently making its way through the Texas legislature House Bill 7, Which Republicans are touting as part of a broader effort for immigration reform. The bill would create a state border police force and make it a state crime for immigrants to enter the US anywhere other than a port of entry, greatly increasing Texas’ ability to police its border – a role Which has long been maintained by federal agents of the US border. Patrol. According to Wright, the state police are already acting as if they have an exemption. “And it will continue to harm civil rights,” she warned. “Not only here, but everywhere, as the Border Patrol and DHS grow and grow and evolve into the national Gestapo.”

in a statement shared with Rolling stoneTexas State Representative Vicky Goodwin, a Democrat, expresses her own fears about where the state is headed, specifically referring to the latest disturbance at the National Butterfly Center. Goodwin writes, “I am concerned that the laws the legislature is attempting to pass will lead to more intrusions on private property against the will of the owners.” “I am concerned that this will lead to victimization of American citizens who legally live in border communities.”

“I’m fine. For now. They may eventually make me disappear,” says Wright. However, she adds: “We cannot live in fear. That’s what they all want. Being courageous is an act of resistance.