Department Of Justice Goes After Texas Gov. Greg Abbott

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The Justice Department has filed a federal lawsuit against Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott over an executive order that he recently put in place targeting migrants in Texas. Alongside other provisions, that order allows officers with the Texas Department of Public Safety to stop private vehicles that they suspect of carrying undocumented migrants; the targeted vehicles would be in violation of Abbott’s simultaneous attempt, via that same order, to leave transportation services for undocumented migrants to law enforcement alone. Besides the fact that these directives could directly lead to racial profiling, Abbott’s order also threatens to substantially impede federal immigration officials and agents from completing their jobs, because federal authorities routinely rely on private contractors to provide transportation for migrants.

The Department of Justice wants Abbott’s order blocked. The new lawsuit from the Justice Department insists that Abbott’s order “would severely disrupt federal immigration operations,” adding, according to NBC’s summary, that the order “is invalid because states cannot take action to preempt enforcement of federal law.” Abbott has characterized his order as an effort against the spread of COVID-19, but just this week, he signed another order that bans local officials from even mandating the wearing of face masks. That same order also blocks local officials from enforcing capacity restrictions for local businesses. Targeting migrants while glossing over just about everything else is ridiculously hypocritical and seriously undercuts the governor’s basic credibility.

On Friday, Abbott issued a statement reading as follows:

‘I take very seriously my duties and responsibilities as the Governor of the State of Texas. I have the authority, and duty, under the constitutions of the United States and of Texas to protect Texans and our nation. I also have the authority under long-established emergency response laws to control the movement of people to better contain the spread of a disaster, such as those known to have COVID-19.’

Again — if he’s all that concerned about COVID-19, then why did he rush to enact harsh measures against migrants in the literal same week that he moved to block local governments from even mandating the wearing of face masks? It’s all so transparent. Could the racial profiling — from whatever source, and in whatever exact form — underlying Abbott’s policy decisions be any more obvious?