US sues Texas to stop state soldiers from arresting migrants – .

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US sues Texas to stop state soldiers from arresting migrants – .


EL PASO, TEXAS – The Biden administration sued Texas on Friday to prevent state soldiers from stopping vehicles carrying migrants on the grounds that they could spread COVID-19, warning that the practice would exacerbate problems in due to the high number of crossings at the state’s border with Mexico.

The Justice Department has called for an immediate blockage of Gov. Greg Abbott’s order issued Wednesday, which authorizes the Texas Department of Public Safety to “stop any vehicle on reasonable suspicion” that it is carrying migrants. Soldiers could then redirect vehicles to their point of origin or impound them.

The lawsuit, filed in El Paso federal court, mirrors a letter Attorney General Merrick Garland sent to the governor the day before, claiming the state was usurping and even interfering with the federal government’s responsibility to enforce laws on immigration.

Abbott, a Republican facing re-election next year, wrote Garland on Friday to say the federal government was interfering with its obligations to protect residents of Texas.

“It is clear from the arguments in your letter that the state of Texas and the federal government are facing a constitutional crisis,” Abbott wrote.

The lawsuit exacerbates tensions between the Biden administration and Abbott over the governor’s actions at the border, which include imprisoning migrants for state crimes and building new fences.

For months, the two-term governor has sought to claim former President Donald Trump’s hardline immigration mantle, stoking passions over a polarizing issue.

Civil rights groups and immigration advocates have said Abbott’s decision to have soldiers stop vehicles could invite racial profiling and restrict the shelters’ ability to accommodate newly arrived families.

Statements submitted with the lawsuit offered new evidence that large numbers of migrants have shown up at the border with Mexico, with senior officials warning that the governor’s order could significantly hamper transportation and other federal operations.

The Rio Grande Valley border patrol sector, the busiest corridor for illegal crossings, had more than 8,300 migrants in custody on Wednesday, with an average processing time of 57 hours, said Brian Hastings, the head of the sector.

The sector has freed more than 100,000 migrants since October 1, including 9,000 last week.

The Department of Homeland Security reported that 646 children traveling alone were detained at the Mexican border on Thursday, up from a daily average of 480 over the previous 30 days.

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