The Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a federal lawsuit on Friday against the state of Texas and Governor Greg Abbott over an executive order he issued to limit the ground transportation of illegal aliens.
Abbott, a Republican, said that the executive order issued Wednesday is intended to “reduce the risk of COVID-19 exposure” in Texas communities, amid an increase in CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus infections in the Lone Star State, including among illegal aliens.
Attorney General Merrick Garland asked Abbott to rescind the executive order and threatened to file a lawsuit on Thursday.
The DOJ on Friday filed its complaint with the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas in El Paso. “No State may obstruct the Federal Government in the discharge of its constitutional responsibilities,” the department said in its complaint.
“The executive order violates the Supremacy Clause and causes injury to the United States and to individuals whom the United States is charged to protect, jeopardizing the health and safety of noncitizens in federal custody, risking the safety of federal law enforcement personnel and their families, and exacerbating the spread of COVID-19 in our communities,” the complaint reads.
“The executive order obstructs the Federal Government’s arrangements with nongovernmental partners and directly interferes with the administration of federal immigration law,” it adds. “This Court should declare the executive order to be invalid and enjoin its enforcement.”
Abbott’s order had said that no person other than a federal, state, or local law-enforcement official can give ground transportation to illegal aliens who have been detained by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents. It also gives the state’s Department of Public Safety the authority to stop and send back any vehicle suspected of carrying illegal aliens.
The government regularly employs contractors and other non-law enforcement personnel to transfer migrants, reported Reuters.
In a statement responding to the suit, the Texas governor asserted his authority under the law to “protect the people of Texas.”
“I have the authority, and duty, under the constitutions of the United States and of Texas to protect Texans and our nation. I also have the authority under long-established emergency response laws to control the movement of people to better contain the spread of a disaster, such as those known to have COVID-19,” he said. “My duty remains to the people of Texas, and I have no intention of abdicating that.”