In a short-term victory for the Biden administration, a federal judge in Texas blocked an executive order which restricts the transport of infected illegal immigrants on Tuesday, suggesting that the order itself would have the effect of "exacerbating the spread of COVID-19."
U.S. District Judge Kathleen Cardone of El Paso agreed with the Justice Department, which accused Governor Greg Abbott (R) of potentially worsening the spread of the virus - as impeding the transfer of undocumented migrants would prolong the detention of unaccompanied children in "increasingly crowded" facilities, according to the Associated Press.
Abbott spokesman Renae Eze said the decision was “based on limited evidence” and that their office looked forward to providing evidence to the court.
Like Texas, the Biden administration is also raising concerns about the much more contagious delta variant as large numbers of noncitizens continue arriving at Texas’ southern border. On Monday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention renewed emergency powers that allow federal authorities to expel families at the border on grounds it prevents the spread of the coronavirus.
Abbott last week authorized Texas state troopers along the border to "stop any vehicle upon reasonable suspicion" that it transports migrants - allowing troopers to reroute vehicles back to their point of origin, or impound them. Civil rights groups argue that the directive could invite racial profiling.
On Friday, Abbott slammed the Biden administration after the DOJ sued Texas over the executive order. The moves come after the Biden administration was busted releasing Covid-positive illegal immigrants into a Texas border community, where they were placed into local hotels by a Catholic charity.
"The Biden Administration is knowingly admitting hundreds of thousands of unauthorized migrants, many of whom the federal government knows full well have COVID-19," Abbott said in response to the DOJ suit.
In July, US authorities made around 210,000 stops - the most migrants in more than 20 years and up from 188,829 in June.