Attorney General Merrick Garland today issued a warning to Texas Governor Greg Abbottt over Executive Order GA-37, which restricts the transportation of unlawful migrants in Texas due to COVID-19. Garland called the executive order “both dangerous and unlawful” and urged the governor to immediately rescind it.
“On Wednesday, Abbott issued an executive order restricting ground transportation of migrants ‘who pose a risk of carrying Covid-19 into Texas communities’ and directing Texas Department of Public Safety to stop any vehicle it finds suspicious, marking the governor’s latest attack against the administration’s immigration policies,” CNN reported.
CNN first reported that the Biden administration was considering challenging the move and that the Department of Homeland Security was also reviewing it. Governor Abbott today responded to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland’s letter in a statement.
“It is clear that the Biden Administration fundamentally misunderstands what is truly happening at the Texas-Mexico border,” Abbott said. “The current crisis at our southern border, including the overcrowding of immigration facilities and the devastating spread of COVID-19 that the influx of non-citizens is causing, is entirely the creation of the Biden Administration and its failed immigration policies.”
“By choosing not to enforce immigration laws, removing sound policies like the Remain in Mexico program, and failing to make the most robust use of Title 42 authorities, this Administration has directly caused the unprecedented crisis Texas is facing,” he continued. “And it is increasingly a matter of grave public-health concern as unlawful migrants enter from countries with lower vaccination rates than the United States.”
“It would be of some solace if the federal government were conducting appropriate COVID-19 testing and other mitigation strategies, but to the contrary, we hear too many reports of the federal government recklessly failing to do so and instead admitting into the United States — and Texas — migrants from over 150 counties, many of whom are testing positive for COVID-19,” the statement added.
On Tuesday, Abbott issued an order for the Texas National Guard to assist law enforcement with the arrests of migrants illegally crossing the border into the state.
“To respond to this disaster and secure the rule of law at our Southern border, more manpower is needed — in addition to the troopers from the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) and soldiers from the Texas National Guard I have already deployed there — and DPS needs help in arresting those who are violating state law,” Abbott said in a letter to Major Gen. Tracy R. Norris of the Texas Military Department. “I hereby order that the Texas National Guard assist DPS in enforcing Texas law by arresting lawbreakers at the border.”
“The move is the latest in Abbott’s efforts to control what he has declared a disaster in several border counties, which he says has been brought on by the Biden administration’s lax immigration enforcement,” the Texas Tribune reported. “Border authorities have stopped hundreds of thousands of migrants trying to cross into the United States through its southwestern border, including 188,829 attempted crossings in June. That number was the highest of the year, beating the previous high of 180,641 set in May.”
Authorities have reported that migrants entering Texas illegally have reportedly tested positive for COVID-19 but were still being released into the state.