The Department of Justice has sued Texas over measures the state has taken to crack down on illegal immigration and the spread of COVID-19.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order on Wednesday allowing state law enforcement to pull over vehicles — excluding federal, state, or local law enforcement agencies — that are transporting immigrants who might pose a risk of carrying COVID-19.
If Texas Department of Public Safety personnel — such as state troopers — have “reasonable suspicion” that drivers are transporting such migrants, Abbot’s order empowers them to force the vehicles back to point of origin, or point of entry if they came from the border. The order also gives state law enforcement the power to impound the vehicles if drivers refuse to be rerouted.
United States Attorney General Merrick Garland sent a letter Thursday asking Abbott to rescind the order and threatening legal action against the state. Garland described Abbott’s order as “dangerous and unlawful,” according to The Texas Tribune, an online news outlet.
Abbott responded in a letter of his own, defiantly declaring that the Texas government and federal government may face a “constitutional crisis” due to the fact that Garland’s and the Biden administration’s actions clash with his duty as governor.
“The authority that you assert to protect noncitizens directly conflicts with my authority, and duty, to protect citizens of Texas and the United States,” Abbott wrote.
If this battle would end up reaching the Supreme Court, I am not sure which way it would be decided. However, Abbott does a good job laying out in his letter why his order is lawful. Abbott states that “under long-established emergency response laws used by Texas in partnership with the federal government, I have the authority to control the movement of people to contain the spread of a disaster.”
Abbott also wrote in the letter that the Biden Administration is not enforcing current immigration laws and is admitting unauthorized migrants, many of whom do have COVID-19, into Texas. The administration knows this and is exposing Americans and Texans to the disease, Abbott wrote.
The most poignant part of the letter is where Abbott writes what many of us know, but which those in the Biden administration have been unwilling to acknowledge or show any shred of accountability for.
“While the Biden Administration is openly pondering looming shutdowns and mandates on U.S. citizens to control the spread of COVID-19, at the same time the Administration is knowingly worsening the problem by importing COVID-19 at extreme rates,” Abbott wrote.
Then, just one day later, the Biden administration sued the state of Texas and asked a federal judge to block Abbott’s executive order.
According to The Texas Tribune, in a motion asking a judge to block the governor’s order, the DOJ argued: “In our constitutional system, a State has no right to regulate the federal government’s operations.”
The motion also said that “this restriction on the transportation of noncitizens would severely disrupt federal immigration operations,” the outlet reported.
This was elaborated on as the DOJ argued that the governor’s order would disturb the network organizations that host immigrants while they are awaiting their court cases, The Texas Tribune reported.
The lawsuit also states that if immigrants are unable to be transported by volunteers, they will be forced to stay in immigration facilities, and there is not enough space for all of them, the Tribune reported.
Abbott responded to the lawsuit with a statement blaming the Biden administration for creating the constitutional crisis through its refusal to enforce current immigration laws while also permitting COVID-infected immigrants to enter the United States. He stated that President Joe Biden has a responsibility to uphold the sovereignty of the United States but is failing to do so.
“As the Governor of Texas, I have a responsibility to protect the people of Texas — a responsibility that grows more urgent by the day while the Biden Administration sits on the sidelines,” Abbott wrote.
With illegal immigrants being released all across the country, we simply have no idea who these people are or what history they have. Neither does Biden or anyone else in government for that matter.
Many of these people are likely to disappear, many won’t check in, and in addition to the repercussions for the health and safety of American citizens, this makes the migrants themselves targets for human trafficking and other crimes as well.
Many leftists might argue that Abbott’s latest executive order is not genuine in its concern regarding COVID-19 due to his previous executive order prohibiting mask mandates by any level of the government in Texas. However, I would say that this argument does not hold up.
There is a distinct difference between allowing legal United States citizens to make their own medical choices for themselves, and wanting to stop illegal immigrants from flooding across the country, many of whom have COVID-19, in the midst of a pandemic.
The most obvious difference in these two orders is that one protects citizens from the government in a time of disaster; the other seeks to reduce the spread of disaster by non-citizens. This is a clear distinction, and an important one.
Abbott’s duty is to every legal citizen in the state of Texas, and it is clear that his order was crafted with Texas citizens in mind. They should be his highest priority and it appears they are. Abbott is putting the rights, concerns, and safety of Texas and U.S. citizens before anybody else.
It is hard to say how far this lawsuit will go, when it will be decided, or what the ruling will ultimately be. However, I will say that Governor Abbott is doing the commendable thing when it comes to protecting the citizens he governs.
If all politicians would do the same, we would be much better off as a country right now.
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