Department of Justice is Suing Texas Governor
The Department of Justice is suing Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R) over an emergency measure designed to limit the ground transportation of illegal immigrants amid a surge in COVID cases.
The measure, announced last Wednesday, directs law enforcement to arrest any vehicle suspected of carrying illegal immigrants.
The order is designed to limit the spread of COVID and has nothing to do with immigration, said Abbott’s attorneys. It applies only to illegal immigrants recently released from custody who pose a risk of carrying the virus into Texas.
“The Biden Administration is jeopardizing the health and safety of Texans on a daily basis by refusing to follow the law. And it’s not just Texans; these irresponsible policies and actions by the Biden Administration are endangering the lives of many Americans as well as the unlawful immigrants themselves,” said Abbott. “I will take every available step consistent with the law to fulfill my duty to protect the health and safety of all Texans.”
In its lawsuit filed Friday, the DOJ claims Abbott’s measure violates intergovernmental immunity and interferes with its ability to release and transport migrants.
“Immigration enforcement is exclusively a federal matter. It’s not for the states to do,” argues Geoffrey Hoffman, director of the immigration clinic at the University of Houston.
On Tuesday, District Judge Kathleen Cardone responded to the lawsuit with a restraining order that forbids law enforcement from carrying out the emergency measure. The restraining order remains in effect until August 13th.
“The temporary halt is really important, becuase it’s a clear recognition of the legality of this order,” says Rochelle Garza, a civil rights attorney. “As the case progresses, it’s a signal as to where the judge is standing and what they’re looking at, based on the law in front of them…So ultimately, we can expect that the executive order will be struck down as unconstitutional.”
In the meantime, Texas continues to struggle with a surge in immigration that shows no signs of stopping.
There have been over 1 million apprehensions at the US-Mexico border since January including an estimated 188,000 in June (a 20-year high). With no help from the federal government and COVID cases increasing, Governor Abbott has had no choice but to take matters into his own hands.
In May, he issued a disaster declaration regarding border crossings that “posed an ongoing and imminent threat of disaster.” In June, lawmakers authorized $250 million for border wall construction and Abbott directed law enforcement to arrest as many illegals as possible on charges of trespassing and vandalism.
As expected, the Biden Administration has done its best to interfere with all of these efforts while offering no practical solutions to the crisis at hand.