U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland penned a letter on Thursday to Republican Governor of Texas Greg Abbott in response to Abbott’s executive order, issued on Wednesday, that restricts the flow of migrants into Texas due to COVID-19.
According to the governor’s website, Abbott signed the executive order “restricting ground transportation of migrants who pose a risk of carrying COVID-19 into Texas communities.” It also “directed the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) to stop any vehicle upon reasonable suspicion of such violation and reroute such vehicles back to its point of origin or a port of entry. DPS also has the authority to impound a vehicle that violates the Executive Order.”
In response to Abbott’s order, Garland wrote a letter in response to Abbott, saying that the executive order cannot be enforced, requesting the governor to recall the order.
Garland wrote that the order “would jeopardize the health and safety of noncitizens in federal government custody, federal law enforcement personnel and their families, and our communities.”
He also wrote, “The Order violates federal law in numerous respects, and Texas cannot lawfully enforce the Executive Order against any federal official or private parties working with the United States.”
“Texas has no authority to interfere with the United States’ ‘broad, un-doubted power over the subject of immigration’ by impairing the United States’ release of individuals and the ability of those individuals to comply with federal immigration law,” Garland added.
At the end of the letter, Garland said that if Abbott does not take back the order, he was providing notice that “the United States intends to pursue all appropriate legal remedies to ensure that Texas does not interfere with the functions of the federal government.”
Abbott has been a vocal critic of the Biden administration’s blasé approach to combatting the rise of illegal immigration on the Texas southern border.
Regarding the order, Abbott said, “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.
Last week Abbott issued an order in an attempt to stop the influx of illegal immigrants crossing the border, ordering the national guard to help law enforcement mitigate border crossings.