The Department of Justice has filed a lawsuit against the State of Texas for Governor Greg Abbott’s executive order halting the transportation of illegal immigrants within the state amidst the surge in reported COVID cases.
The DOJ filed its complaint with the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas in El Paso on Friday.
“No State may obstruct the Federal Government in the discharge of its constitutional responsibilities,” the DOJ said in the complaint.
“The executive order violates the Supremacy Clause and causes injury to the United States and to individuals whom the United States is charged to protect, jeopardizing the health and safety of noncitizens in federal custody, risking the safety of federal law enforcement personnel and their families, and exacerbating the spread of COVID-19 in our communities,” it continued.
“The executive order obstructs the Federal Government’s arrangements with nongovernmental partners and directly interferes with the administration of federal immigration law,” the statement adds. “This Court should declare the executive order to be invalid and enjoin its enforcement.”
“Abbott’s order had said that no person other than a federal, state, or local law-enforcement official can give ground transportation to illegal aliens who have been detained by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents,” the Epoch Times reported. “It also gives the state’s Department of Public Safety the authority to stop and send back any vehicle suspected of carrying illegal aliens.”
Texs Governor Greg Abbott responded by referring to his authority as the state’s duly elected executive to take emergency measures to protect the citizens of the State of Texas.
“I have the authority, and duty, under the constitutions of the United States and of Texas to protect Texans and our nation. I also have the authority under long-established emergency response laws to control the movement of people to better contain the spread of a disaster, such as those known to have COVID-19,” he said. “My duty remains to the people of Texas, and I have no intention of abdicating that.”
“Until President Biden and his Administration do their jobs to enforce the laws of our nation and protect Americans, the State of Texas will continue to step up to protect our communities and uphold the rule of law,” Abbott added.
Attorney General Merrick Garland on Thursday issued a warning to Texas Governor Greg Abbottt over Executive Order GA-37.. Garland called the executive order “both dangerous and unlawful” and urged the governor to immediately rescind it. Abbott responded earlier with a statement accusing the Biden administration of fundamentally misunderstanding the issue.
“It is clear that the Biden Administration fundamentally misunderstands what is truly happening at the Texas-Mexico border,” Abbott said. “The current crisis at our southern border, including the overcrowding of immigration facilities and the devastating spread of COVID-19 that the influx of non-citizens is causing, is entirely the creation of the Biden Administration and its failed immigration policies.”
“By choosing not to enforce immigration laws, removing sound policies like the Remain in Mexico program, and failing to make the most robust use of Title 42 authorities, this Administration has directly caused the unprecedented crisis Texas is facing,” he continued. “And it is increasingly a matter of grave public-health concern as unlawful migrants enter from countries with lower vaccination rates than the United States.”
“It would be of some solace if the federal government were conducting appropriate COVID-19 testing and other mitigation strategies, but to the contrary, we hear too many reports of the federal government recklessly failing to do so and instead admitting into the United States — and Texas — migrants from over 150 counties, many of whom are testing positive for COVID-19,” the statement added.
On Tuesday, Abbott had issued an order for the Texas National Guard to assist law enforcement with the arrests of migrants illegally crossing the border into the state.
“To respond to this disaster and secure the rule of law at our Southern border, more manpower is needed — in addition to the troopers from the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) and soldiers from the Texas National Guard I have already deployed there — and DPS needs help in arresting those who are violating state law,” Abbott said in a letter to Major Gen. Tracy R. Norris of the Texas Military Department. “I hereby order that the Texas National Guard assist DPS in enforcing Texas law by arresting lawbreakers at the border.”
“The move is the latest in Abbott’s efforts to control what he has declared a disaster in several border counties, which he says has been brought on by the Biden administration’s lax immigration enforcement,” the Texas Tribune reported. “Border authorities have stopped hundreds of thousands of migrants trying to cross into the United States through its southwestern border, including 188,829 attempted crossings in June. That number was the highest of the year, beating the previous high of 180,641 set in May.”