(Bloomberg) -- The Biden adminstration sued Texas to block Governor Greg Abbott’s order allowing state troopers to stop vehicles suspected of transporting migrants and sending them back to the border or U.S. immigration processing stations.
The Justice Department asked a judge to declare the order invalid and to immediately halt its enforcement.
“The executive order will severely disrupt the federal government’s efforts to carry out its responsibilities under the federal immigration laws,” the Justice Department said in the lawsuit, filed Friday in federal court in El Paso.
Immigration agencies rely on contractors to transport unaccompanied children who cross the border to sponsors, as well as non citizens to hospitals and to immigration courts, the department said in the complaint. Abbott’s order says only federal, state or local law enforcement officials can transport migrants who have been detained for crossing the border illegally.
“The executive order purports to authorize state agents to act as immigration officers and interferes with the federal government’s ability to lawfully release and transport noncitizens, and to conduct federal immigration hearings, to which noncitizens must travel in order to appear,” the Justice Department said.
Abbott, who framed his executive order as a way to prevent the spread of Covid 19, reacted defiantly to the lawsuit, saying he had “no intention of abdicating” his responsibility to “protect Texans and our nation.”
“Until President Biden and his administration do their jobs to enforce the laws of our nation and protect Americans, the State of Texas will continue to step up to protect our communities and uphold the rule of law,” he said in a statement.
The case is U.S. v. State of Texas, 3:21-cv-00173, U.S. District Court, Western District of Texas (El Paso).
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