Associated Press, July 30, 2021
The Biden administration sued Texas on Friday to prevent state troopers from stopping vehicles carrying migrants on grounds that they may spread COVID-19, warning that the practice would exacerbate problems amid high levels of crossings on the state’s border with Mexico.
The Justice Department asked for an immediate block on Gov. Greg Abbott’s order issued Wednesday, which allows the Texas Department of Public Safety to “stop any vehicle upon reasonable suspicion” that it transports migrants. Troopers could then reroute vehicles back to their point of origin or impound them.
The lawsuit, filed in federal court in El Paso, mirrors a letter that Attorney General Merrick Garland sent the governor a day earlier, arguing that the state was usurping and even interfering with the federal government’s responsibility to enforce immigration laws.
Abbott, a Republican who is facing reelection next year, wrote Garland on Friday to argue that the federal government was interfering with his obligations to protect Texas residents.
”It is clear from the arguments in your letter that the State of Texas and the federal government face a constitutional crisis,” Abbott wrote.