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US sues Texas after it blocks transport of migrants in state


In this file photo taken on July 22, 2021 a woman who was apprehended crossing the US-Mexico border, speaks to a United States Border Patrol agent from the back of a transport van in Sunland Park, New Mexico. (AFP)

The US Justice Department sued Texas Governor Greg Abbott on Friday, seeking to block an executive order that restricts the transport of migrants through the state and authorizes state troopers to pull over vehicles suspected of doing so.

In a lawsuit filed in El Paso federal court, the Justice Department said Abbottís order, which he said was aimed at preventing migrants from potentially spreading the coronavirus, illegally infringes upon the federal governmentís jurisdiction over immigration matters.

The order, which Abbott signed on Wednesday, permits only "law enforcement officials" to provide ground transport for migrants detained for illegally crossing the southern border. It also gives the stateís public safety department the authority to stop any vehicle suspected of carrying migrants and send it back to its point of origin.

The order would interfere with the US governmentís ability to transport migrants between facilities, including unaccompanied children, according to the lawsuit. The government regularly employs contractors and other non-law enforcement personnel to transfer migrants.

Texas has become a battleground on immigration as Republicans and supporters of former President Donald Trump push back against Bidenís efforts to relax the restrictionist policies of his predecessor. Republicans want to galvanize opposition to Bidenís immigration policies to mobilize voters ahead of the 2022 congressional elections.

The Republican governor said the order was aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus, citing a "dramatic rise in COVID-19 cases" among migrants.

There is no clear evidence that migrants are primarily responsible for an increase in coronavirus cases in the state. Texas, where about 44% of residents are fully vaccinated, has seen cases surge by more than 200% in the last two weeks.

The lawsuit made good on a threat issued on Thursday by US Attorney General Merrick Garland, who urged Abbott to rescind the order immediately.

In response to the lawsuit, Abbott said the Biden administration had created a "constitutional crisis" between the federal government and the state of Texas.

"This stems from the Biden administrationís refusal to enforce immigration laws and allow illegal immigrants with COVID-19 to enter our country," he said.

(Source: Reuters)

LINK: https://www.ansarpress.com/english/23347


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