Under an Executive Order issued last week by Greg Abbott, Texas’ Department of Public Safety had been directed to stop vehicles that, under “reasonable suspicion,” appeared to be carrying migrants who had been released from custody after illegally crossing the Texas border.
It also gave the state officials the authority to reroute or even impound vehicles once it was confirmed that they were carrying the migrants in question. Federal and state law enforcement were exempted under the order.
Abbott’s order, which was issued last Wednesday, is framed as a public health measure to address Covid-19, which is surging in Texas. Abbott’s vocal opposition to new mask mandates or requirements for vaccines has raised valid concerns about the order’s actual agenda.
Two days after Abbott issued the Executive Order, the Department of Justice responded, alleging the order violated the Constitution’s Supremacy Clause, which establishes that federal laws preempt state laws and regulations. A federal judge agreed and has issued a temporary restraining order that will remain in effect until August 13. against Abbott’s Executive Order.
The DOJ lawsuit suggested that Abbott’s order threatened the;
“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.”
Abbott intends to contest the suit, falling back again on the criteria he suggests underscores the need for the order in the first place. In a statement his office has said that it looks forward to defending the order in court and argued it had been issued in an attempt to prevent;
“the spreading of Covid-19 into Texas and protect the health and safety of Texans.”
The order is at clear odds with federal law and has placed Abbott’s Republican-led House on a clear collision course with Washington. While it is becoming more evident with each piece of legislation passed by Abbott, that he sees Texas as an independent entity responsible for plotting its own trajectory, the restraining order will be a bitter reminder of the facts.
Independence is a relative term, and each state is free to pursue its version of it within the guidelines of Federal law. Overstep those boundaries and the slap on the wrist is inevitable,
How serious is the situation? Here are the latest figures from US Customs and Border Protection.
- Beginning in March FY20, OFO Encounters statistics include both Title 8 Inadmissibles and Title 42 Expulsions. To learn more, visit: Title-8-and-Title-42-Statistics. Inadmissibles refers to individuals encountered at ports of entry who are seeking lawful admission into the United States but are determined to be inadmissible, individuals presenting themselves to seek humanitarian protection under our laws, and individuals who withdraw an application for admission and return to their countries of origin within a short timeframe.
- Beginning in March FY20, USBP Encounters statistics include both Title 8 Apprehensions and Title 42 Expulsions. To learn more, visit: Title-8-and-Title-42-Statistics. Apprehensions refers to the physical control or temporary detainment of a person who is not lawfully in the U.S. which may or may not result in an arrest.
Critics of the Biden border policy will rightly point to the swiftness of this response and compare it to the total malaise surrounding Biden's open border strategy. There can be no doubt Texas is being overrun and it does pose a health risk to the region.
The risk is not as severe as Abbott is suggesting, but it is an unneeded source of additional infections in a State that has been hogtied by its Governor. Perhaps President Biden should be addressing the migrant influx rather than chastising poorly constructed responses?
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