United States Attorney General Merrick Garland is threatening to sue Texas in response to Gov. Greg Abbott’s executive order, which instructs law enforcement to stop any vehicle suspected of carrying migrants who crossed the southern border.
Garland, according to local news station CBS Dallas Fort-Worth, called Abbott’s order in a letter “both dangerous and unlawful.”
Abbott issued the executive order on Wednesday in lieu of migrants “who pose a risk of carrying COVID-19 into Texas communities” while directing the Texas Department of Public Safety to stop any vehicle suspected of carrying illegal migrants.
Abbott stated that “the dramatic rise in unlawful border crossings has also led to a dramatic rise in COVID-19 cases among unlawful migrants who have made their way into our state, and we must do more to protect Texans from this virus and reduce the burden on our communities.”
“This Executive Order will reduce the risk of COVID-19 exposure in our communities,” he added.
But according to Garland, Abbott’s order would violate federal law “in numerous respects,” while adding that Texas does not have authority to interfere with the United States’s immigration enforcement.
“The Order would jeopardize the health and safety of noncitizens in federal government custody, federal law enforcement personnel and their families, and our communities,” Garland’s letter reads. “Among other harms, the Order would exacerbate and prolong overcrowding in facilities and shelters and obstruct the federal government’s arrangements with state, local, and nongovernmental partners to ensure that released individuals are transported for appropriate COVID-19 testing to address public health concerns.”
“Additionally, because federal law requires individuals processed for release to appear before immigration courts or report to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement offices throughout the country, the Order directly interferes with the implementation of federal immigration law.”
But “the Biden Administration is jeopardizing the health and safety of Texans on a daily basis by refusing to follow the law,” Abbott retorted back, according to a letter posted on Twitter. “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. I will take every available step consistent with the law to fulfill my duty to protect the health and safety of all Texans.”