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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.

Go deeper

Federal judge blocks Biden administration's use of Title 42 policy

Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A federal judge on Thursday blocked the Biden administration from enforcing a public health order that fast-tracked deportations of migrant families at the southern border.

Why it matters: President Biden has faced significant backlash for retaining the Trump-era policy, which was implemented as a COVID containment measure. The expulsions deny adult migrants and families the chance for asylum.

Sep 17, 2021 - Health

HHS issues new protections for Texas abortion providers, patients

Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra. Photo: Kevin Dietsch via Getty Images

The Biden administration's latest move to bolster support for abortion providers and patients in Texas include funding for clinics, protections for health care workers and reinforcement of legal statutes specific to pregnant people, Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra announced Friday.

Why it matters: The Biden administration has vowed to fight Texas' new abortion law, the U.S.'s most restrictive since 1973, on multiple fronts.

Updated 4 hours ago - Science

Huge wildfire reaches edge of Sequoia National Park

A plume of smoke and flames rise into the air as the fire burns towards Moro Rock during the KNP Complex fire in the Sequoia National Park near Three Rivers, California, on Saturday. Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images

Firefighters in Sequoia National Park were working into the night after two wildfires merged to reach the Giant Forest Saturday.

Why it matters: This forest contains over 2,000 giant sequoias, including the General Sherman Tree — the world's largest tree by volume. Park officials wrapped the redwoods in foil last week as the Paradise and Colony Fires, now known as the KNP Complex Fire, neared. Protection efforts appeared to be working overnight.