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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

Texas Gov. Abbott sends fleet of cars to form "steel wall" along southern border

U.S. Border Patrol, National Guard and Texas Department of Public Safety vehicles in Del Rio, Texas, shine their lights on the crossing point for mostly Haitian migrants on the Rio Grande on Sept. 21. Photo: Paul Ratje/AFP via Getty Images

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) told Fox News Tuesday that he has sent hundreds of state-owned vehicles to the southern border to form a barrier to prevent migrants from crossing.

Why it matters: It's the latest measure taken to block the entry of migrants around Del Rio, Tex., where thousands coming from Haiti have taken refuge while trying to seek asylum.

Federal judge: Florida ban on sanctuary cities racially motivated

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

A federal judge on Tuesday struck down parts of a Florida law aimed at banning local governments from establishing sanctuary city policies, arguing in part that the law is racially motivated and that it has the support of hate groups.

Why it matters: In a 110-page ruling issued Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Beth Bloom said the law — signed and championed by Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) — violates the Constitution's Equal Protection Clause because it was adopted with discriminatory motives.

Updated Sep 23, 2021 - Politics & Policy

DHS seeks operator for Guantánamo Bay migrant detention facility amid Del Rio surge

Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas. Photo: Graeme Jennings/Pool via Getty Images

The Biden administration is looking for a private contractor to oversee a migrant detention facility at the U.S. naval base at Guantánamo Bay, according to a recent government listing.

Yes, but: A Department of Homeland Security spokesperson said in an email on Wednesday night that the DHS "is not and will not send Haitian nationals being encountered at the southwest border to the Migrant Operations Center (MOC) in Guantanamo Bay."