Texas Gov. Abbott: “The Biden Administration has created a constitutional crisis between the federal government and the State of Texas. This stems from the Biden Administration’s refusal to enforce immigration laws and allow illegal immigrants with COVID-19 to enter our country.”
How much does the Biden administration love the illegal migration taking place at the southern border? Biden has encouraged people to come here illegally, and to send their children here illegally in dangerous conditions, by offering a de facto sanctuary nation. So important is protecting this migration to the Biden administration that it trumps the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
Texas issued an order prohibiting the transport of illegal migrants, other than by local, state, or federal law enforcement, in light of the surge of coronavirus cases along the border. The Order provided, in part:
WHEREAS, in a so-called “Title 42 order.” President Trump took action to protect Americans from COVID-l9 by rapidly expelling migrants who could carry the diseaseacross the border: and
WHEREAS, the Biden Administration has kept in place the Title 42 order, and for good reason: and
WHEREAS, despite the emergence of the highLy contagious delta variant of COVID- 19 and the fact that vaccination rates are lower in the countries that newly admitted migrants come from and pass through, President Biden has thwarted the Title 42 order’s effect by admitting into the United States and the State of Texas, migrants who are testing positive for COVID-19; and
WHEREAS, President Biden’s failure to enforce the Title 42 order, combined with his refusal to enforce the immigration laws enacted by Congress, is having a predictable and potentially catastrophic effect on public health in Texas; and
WHEREAS, to take just one data point, reports show that U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has recently seen a 900 percent increase in the number of migrant detainees who tested positive for COVID-19 in the Rio Grande Valley: and
NOW. THEREFORE. I. Greg Abbott, Governor of Texas, by virtue of the power and authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the State of Texas, do hereby order the following on a statewide basis effective immediately:
1. No person, other than a federal, state, or local law-enforcement official, shall provide ground transportation to a group of migrants who have been detained by CBP for crossing the border illegally or who would have been subject to expulsion under the Title 42 order.
2. The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) is directed to stop any vehicle upon reasonable suspicion of a violation of paragraph 1, and to reroute such a vehicle back to its point of origin or a port of entry if a violation is confirmed.
3. DPS is authorized to impound a vehicle that is being used to transport migrants in violation of paragraph I, or that refuses to be rerouted in violation of paragraph 2.
The Order tried to protect the public by preventing non-govermental organizations from transporting illegal migrants, but the legal problem is that the federal government controls enforcement of immigration laws (or non-enforcement, in Biden’s case).
But states have a right to protect public health. So what we have here is a clash of civilizations, and DOJ has sued. You can read the Complaint, Motion for TRO and Affidavits, and the Judge’s Order setting a Court appearance for Monday, August 2:
From the Complaint:
1. No State may obstruct the Federal Government in the discharge of its constitutional responsibilities. But on July 28, 2021, the Governor of the State of Texas issued an executive order purporting—“effective immediately”—to restrict who may lawfully provide ground transportation in Texas to certain groups of migrants who have been detained by the Federal Government pursuant to U.S. immigration authorities or are otherwise subject to certain Federal authorities.
2. The United States brings this suit to challenge the executive order, attached hereto as Exhibit A, which is described as “executive order No. GA-37 relating to the transportation of migrants during the COVID-19 disaster” (executive order).
3. 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 executive order obstructs the Federal Government’s arrangements with nongovernmental partners and directly interferes with the administration of federal immigration law.
4. This Court should declare the executive order to be invalid and enjoin its enforcement.
Abbott issued a statement responding to the lawsuit:
“The Biden Administration has created a constitutional crisis between the federal government and the State of Texas. This stems from the Biden Administration’s refusal to enforce immigration laws and allow illegal immigrants with COVID-19 to enter our country. As our communities are overrun and overwhelmed by the record-high influx of migrants, cartels and smugglers profit off the chaos. Not only that, but this crisis also extends beyond the border as deadly drugs like fentanyl infiltrate our communities. This already dangerous situation continues to deteriorate as the Biden Administration knowingly imports COVID-19 into Texas from across the border—willfully exposing Texans and Americans alike. President Biden has a duty and a responsibility to protect and uphold our nation’s sovereignty, yet he has long-since abdicated his authority to do so.
“As the Governor of Texas, I have a responsibility to protect the people of Texas—a responsibility that grows more urgent by the day while the Biden Administration sits on the sidelines. I take very seriously my duties and responsibilities as the Governor of the State 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. My duty remains to the people of Texas, and I have no intention of abdicating that.
“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.”
Abbott also sent a letter that provided, among other things:
There are several actions the Biden Administration can take to avert a constitutional showdown while also addressing the public health concerns that my Executive Order seeks to achieve.
First, the Administration can ensure that any unauthorized migrants it allows to enter the United States remain only on federally owned or operated land. Already, the federal government is operating multiple migrant facilities along the border, presumably in ways that minimize or eliminate the potential for migrants infected with COVID-19 to transmit the disease to Texans. The federal government has the resources and capability to house those migrants while minimizing the transportation of infected migrants into Texas cities and towns.
Alternatively, the Biden Administration could simply enforce the existing federal immigration laws and stop admitting migrants who are not authorized by Congress to be admitted. That would substantially reduce the importation of COVID-19 while also fulfilling the federal government’s role to faithfully execute the laws of the United States.
My office remains committed to working with you and the Department of Justice to ensure that we achieve the twin goals of applying the laws of the United States and of this state, while also preventing the knowing importation of COVID-19 into our communities.
These presumably are the arguments that will be made when Texas AG Paxton files responsive papers: Yes, the feds have control of immigration, but federal non-enforcement of federal law is creating a health crisis. States have the power to protect public health in a pandemic. And Texas, the argument would go, is not regulating immigration, it’s regulating public health, and there is no infringement on federal immigration because Texas itself is not deporting people.
As outrageous as Biden’s malfeasance is, Texas has an uphill legal fight.
My statement regarding the Biden Administration’s just-filed lawsuit against the State of Texas ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/1pzTB6RUNy
— Texas Attorney General (@TXAG) July 30, 2021
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