Judge temporarily halts Abbott’s order restricting transportation of migrants in Texas

A federal court temporarily halted Gov. Greg Abbott’s executive order that restricted civilians from transporting migrants.

U.S. District Judge Kathleen Cardone signed the temporary restraining order late Tuesday and said she believed the governor’s executive order would conflict with federal immigration law and would attempt to regulate the federal government’s operations.

The order prevents Abbott from enforcing the order for 10 days.

“The United States is likely to prevail on its claims that Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s

order…violates the Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution because (1) it conflicts with, and poses an obstacle to, federal immigration law; and (2) it directly regulates the federal government’s operations,” the order stated.

Abbott’s executive order, signed Wednesday, July 28, instructed Texas Department of Public Safety troopers to stop and impound civilian vehicles used to transport migrants in the state.

Attorneys for the federal government argued the move would significantly affect their operations which heavily rely on contracted employees to transport migrants.

In the Rio Grande Valley, contracted transportation was used to move 120,000 migrants this year, and about 9,600 just last week.

If state troopers stop federal contract workers from moving migrants, Rio Grande Valley Border Patrol Chief Patrol Agent Brian Hastings said they would need to use law enforcement officers at a time when they are not able to spare them.

“The Executive Order causes irreparable injury to the United States and to individuals the United States is charged with protecting,” the judge’s order continued.

DPS had not yet, however, enforced the order, according to court documents.

Office of the Governor Press Secretary Renae Eze released a statement Tuesday evening.

“The Court’s recent order is temporary and based on limited evidence,” the statement read. “We look forward to providing the Court with the evidence to support the Governor’s Executive Order to protect Texans. The Biden Administration has knowingly — and willfully — released COVID-19 positive migrants into Texas communities, risking the potential exposure and infection of Texas residents.

“The Governor’s Executive Order attempts to prevent the Biden Administration from spreading COVID-19 into Texas and protect the health and safety of Texans.”

Cardone’s order is in effect until 8 a.m. Aug. 13. The next hearing is scheduled for the same day.