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Justice Department sues Texas over Gov. Greg Abbott’s order for law enforcement to pull over vehicles with migrants

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Texas Tribune:

On Wednesday, Abbott issued the order, allowing Texas Department of Public Safety troopers to reroute civilian vehicles back to their origin point or a port of entry, or seize the vehicles, if police suspect the driver is transporting migrants who have COVID-19.

The governor responded to the lawsuit in a statement claiming the Biden administration has created this crisis because it doesn’t enforce immigration laws. He also said he would not back down because his “duty remains to the people of Texas, and I have no intention of abdicating that.”

The Biden administration sued Texas on Friday, asking a federal judge to block Gov. Greg Abbott’s order that state troopers pull over drivers transporting migrants who pose a risk of carrying COVID-19 as a way to prevent the spread of the virus.

The lawsuit comes a day after the U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland, in a letter to the governor, threatened to take legal action against Texas if Abbott didn’t rescind his order. Garland described the order as “dangerous and unlawful.”

The Department of Justice said in the lawsuit that Abbott’s order will contribute to the spread of COVID-19 and it will disrupt immigration officials’ network of contractors and non government organizations that help host recently arrived migrants as their legal cases are pending.

“In our constitutional system, a State has no right to regulate the federal government’s operations,” the DOJ argued in a motion asking the judge to block Abbott’s order, adding “this restriction on the transportation of noncitizens would severely disrupt federal immigration operations.”

On Wednesday, Abbott issued the order, allowing Texas Department of Public Safety troopers to reroute civilian vehicles back to their origin point or a port of entry, or seize the vehicles, if police suspect the driver is transporting migrants who are infected with the virus.

Abbott said in a statement that his order “will reduce the risk of COVID-19 exposure in our communities,” though the governor will not allow local government officials to issue mask mandates even as coronavirus infections are again increasing across the state.

The lawsuit says that if migrants are not allowed to be transported by volunteers or contractors they would have to be confined to immigration facilities where there would not be enough space for every migrant.

The governor responded to the lawsuit in a statement claiming the Biden administration has created this crisis because it doesn’t enforce immigration laws. He also said he would not back down because his “duty remains to the people of Texas, and I have no intention of abdicating that.”

More at Texas Tribune

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