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Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (left) and Attorney General Merrick Garland (right). Photos: Lynda M. Gonzalez-Pool and Samuel Corum/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Attorney General Merrick Garland on Thursday urged Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) to immediately rescind restrictions on undocumented migrant travel.

Why it matters: Abbott's order, which bars people from providing ground transportation to migrants detained for illegally crossing the border, gives the state's Department of Public Safety authority to stop and reroute "any vehicle upon reasonable suspicion" of violating the order.

  • Abbott claimed the decision, announced on Wednesday, 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.

What he's saying: In the letter, Garland argues Abbott's order is contrary to federal law and would "jeopardize the health and safety of noncitizens in federal government custody, federal law enforcement personnel and their families, and our communities."

  • "Among other harms, the Order would exacerbate and prolong overcrowding in facilities and shelters and obstruct the federal government's arrangements with state, local, and nongovernmental partners to ensure that released individuals are transported for appropriate COVID-19 testing to address public health concerns," Garland notes.
  • "Additionally, because federal law requires individuals processed for release to appear before immigration courts or report to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement offices throughout the country, the Order directly interferes with the implementation of federal immigration law."
  • If Abbott does not immediately rescind the order, the DOJ will pursue "all appropriate legal remedies to ensure that Texas does not interfere" with the federal government's operations, he added.

Worth noting: Poor conditions in governmental facilities have encouraged the spread of COVID among migrant children detained in Texas border camps.

Go deeper

Abbott kickstarts solutions for more inclusive clinical trials

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Abbott on Wednesday said it will spend $5 million over the next five years for about 300 scholarships for medical schools at historically black colleges and universities and minority nursing associations to better support future generations of diverse clinical investigators.

Why it matters: A historic lack of inclusion in clinical trials and dismal numbers of diverse people running them has contributed to the huge trust problem Latinos often have with medicine manufacturers and institutions.

The hard math behind America's labor shortage

Data: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Congressional Budget Office; Chart: Axios Visuals

Yes, the pandemic has created unusual temporary labor market dynamics. But in the bigger picture, the 2010s were a golden age for companies seeking cheap labor. The 2020s are not.

The big picture: In the 2010s, the massive millennial generation was entering the workforce, the massive baby bo0m generation was still hard at work, and there was a multi-year hangover from the deep recession caused by the global financial crisis.

Advocates fret Roe v. Wade's 49th anniversary could be its last

Photo: Leigh Vogel/Getty Images for Women's March Inc

As Saturday marks the 49th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court's landmark decision that legalized abortion access in the U.S., advocates warn the ruling is "more at risk now than ever."

The big picture: The Supreme Court in December heard a challenge to a Mississippi 15-week abortion ban that could throw Roe's survival into question, or at least narrow its scope.