Abbott’s order was framed as a public health response to the coronavirus pandemic, with the governor claiming that a rise in border crossings was connected to the spike in Covid-19 cases in the state.
It takes aim at the private organizations that — in partnership with the federal government — arrange the transport for migrants who have recently been released by CBP after going through processing.
Abbott’s order directs Texas’ Department of Public Safety to stop vehicles that, under “reasonable suspicion,” appear to be carrying migrants who have been released from custody after illegally crossing the border. It also gives the state officials the authority to reroute or even impound those vehicles once it is confirmed that they are carrying the migrants in question. Federal and state law enforcement is exempted under the order.
In its court filings Friday, the Biden administration said that Abbott’s order would have “tremendous consequences” and could be “expected to cause confrontations between DPS and federal personnel, contractors, and partners moving noncitizens, an important immigration function.”
In a statement responding to the lawsuit, Abbott accused the Biden administration of creating a constitutional crisis between the federal government and the State of Texas” that stemmed from “the Biden Administration’s refusal to enforce immigration laws.”