Updated Jul 30, 2021 - Politics & Policy

DOJ sues Texas over restrictions on undocumented migrant travel

Photo of Merrick Garland's face

Photo: Samuel Corum-Pool via Getty Images

The Justice Department sued Texas on Friday over Gov. Greg Abbott's (R) executive order restricting transportation of undocumented migrants.

Driving the news: The DOJ is asking a federal judge to block the order immediately. It's the latest clash between Texas and President Biden's Justice Department.

State of play: Abbott's order, issued on Wednesday, bars people from providing ground transportation to migrants detained by U.S. Customs and Border Protection for illegally crossing the border.

  • The move gives the state's Department of Public Safety (DPS) authority to stop and reroute "any vehicle upon reasonable suspicion" of violating the order.
  • Abbott claimed the order is aimed at preventing the spread of the coronavirus, but the governor has made no move to mandate masks amid the new surge in cases.

Attorney General Merrick Garland urged Abbott to rescind the order one day after it was announced, calling it contrary to federal law.

  • It would "jeopardize the health and safety of noncitizens in federal government custody, federal law enforcement personnel and their families, and our communities," he wrote in a letter.

Abbott fired back earlier Friday, arguing that the Biden administration's failure to enforce immigration laws "directly caused the unprecedented crisis" in Texas.

  • The administration "fundamentally misunderstands what's happening at the border," and is only endangering the lives of both Texans and migrants, he added in a statement.

The big picture: The DOJ and Texas dueled earlier this year over the Biden administration's 100-day deportation moratorium. A federal judge ruled in the state's favor.

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