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The Justice Department filed a lawsuit on Friday against Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, seeking to block and strike down an executive order designed to limit the travel of illegal immigrants who may have COVID-19.
The filing, which states, "No State may obstruct the Federal Government in the discharge of its constitutional responsibilities," comes one day after Attorney General Merrick Garland urged Abbott to withdraw what he described as a "dangerous and unlawful" executive order, which the governor signed following reports of COVID-positive migrants being dropped off by Homeland Security Department officials in the border towns of La Joya and McAllen pending their U.S. immigration court proceedings.
"In our constitutional system, a State has no right to regulate the federal government’s operations. But the executive order seeks to do just that," the Justice Department said.
The Justice Department added Abbott's executive order would "severely disrupt" the federal government's ability to perform its own duties under federal immigration laws.
The lawsuit was filed with the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas in El Paso. The DOJ also filed a motion for a temporary restraining order or a preliminary injunction to stop enforcement of Abbott's order, which the DOJ said "will immediately and irreparably harm the United States and the noncitizens in its custody."
The order, which Abbott signed on Wednesday, states, "No person, other than a federal, state, or local law-enforcement official, shall provide ground transportation to a group of migrants" who are detained by federal immigration officials for illegally crossing the southern border.
The order directed the Department of Public Safety to "stop any vehicle upon reasonable suspicion of a violation," providing department officials the authority to "reroute such a vehicle back to its point of origin or a port of entry."
The Texas governor said the policy was necessary, pointing to President Joe Biden's "refusal to enforce laws passed by the United States Congress." The Republican also said the order aimed to limit the number of Texans exposed to COVID-19 as the delta variant sweeps parts of the nation.
"The dramatic rise in unlawful border crossings has also led to a dramatic rise in COVID-19 cases among unlawful migrants who have made their way into our state, and we must do more to protect Texans from this virus and reduce the burden on our communities," Abbott said in a statement on Wednesday.
The Washington Examiner contacted Abbott's office about the lawsuit but did not immediately receive a response.
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Original Author: Kaelan Deese
Original Location: Justice Department sues Texas over COVID-19 migrant transport order