In response to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s executive order issued Wednesday that allows state’s Department of Public Safety troopers to stop civilian vehicles “upon reasonable suspicion” of carrying illegal immigrants, the Biden administration sued Texas Friday.
The lawsuit follows a letter sent by the U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland, which warned that the order was both “dangerous” and “contrary to federal law.” It also included the threat of legal action against Texas if Abbott refused to rescind his order.
The government’s legal filing argued that the order would obstruct federal immigration operations, including networks of contractors and non-government organizations that help manage recently-arrived migrants as their legal cases are pending. It further contends that confinement to immigration facilities would place further strain on already-overwhelmed border resources.
“In our constitutional system, a State has no right to regulate the federal government’s operations,” the Department of Justice argued in a motion asking the judge to block Abbott’s order, adding “this restriction on the transportation of noncitizens would severely disrupt federal immigration operations.”
In response to the lawsuit, Abbott claimed in a statement Friday that the Biden administration “has created a constitutional crisis between the federal government and the State of Texas” by “knowingly import[ing] COVID-19 into Texas from across the border—willfully exposing Texans and Americans alike.” The governor, however, continues to ban local government officials from take public safety measures in response to rising cases across the state.
The governor went on to proclaim that his “duty remains to the people of Texas,” and that he has “no intention of abdicating that.” The Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton also responded to the lawsuit in a statement in which he described Abbott’s order as “perfectly legal.”