ACLU: Texas Migrant Transportation Order Violates Federal Law

  • Governor’s order ignores federal demands and legal status of migrants
  • The GM has already obtained an injunction in a similar challenge

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(Reuters) – The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit Thursday claiming that the executive order of Texas Governor Greg Abbott restricting the transport of migrants within the state violates federal law, days after the Biden administration got an injunction in a separate challenge.

ACLU in a complaint in El Paso, the Texas federal court said the Republican governor’s order of July illegally circumvented complex procedures established by federal immigration law, which only allows states to assist with enforcement in certain narrow circumstances.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of three nonprofit advocacy groups and retired public interest lawyer Jennifer Harbury, who welcomes migrants to her home and provides transportation for them.

The ACLU says the order directs state officials to make their own decisions about the immigration status of passengers completely at arm’s length from the federal government and to impose severe penalties based on those decisions.

“The executive decree is already having a profound chilling effect on the movement of people in border communities and throughout the state,” ACLU lawyers wrote in the complaint. “This opens the door to profiling, unrestricted detention, interrogation, vehicle seizure, diversion and heavy fines.”

Abbott’s office and the Texas attorney general’s office did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The complaint comes two days after U.S. District Judge Kathleen Cardone in El Paso temporarily blocked Abbott’s July order in a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Department of Justice.

Cardone said the DOJ would likely win over claims the order interferes with the federal government’s ability to transport migrants between detention centers. The government regularly employs contractors and other non-law enforcement personnel to transfer migrants.

Abbott, in issuing the order, said it aimed to prevent migrants from potentially spreading COVID-19. The ordinance only authorizes “law enforcement officials” to provide land transport for migrants detained for illegally crossing the southern border.

The order also gives the state’s public security department the power to stop any vehicle suspected of carrying migrants and return it to its point of origin.

The ACLU in Thursday’s complaint said that among other flaws, Abbott’s order prohibits anyone from transporting the very people the federal government intentionally released while awaiting immigration proceedings, such as claimants. ‘asylum.

It also interferes with the ability of permanent residents who have been granted asylum and those on the Deferred Action Program for Childhood Arrivals to travel statewide, according to the complaint.

“These people have the federal statutory right to seek asylum and an explicit federal authorization to live in the United States,” the ACLU said. “Texas cannot veto these federal decisions.”

The ACLU says Abbott’s ordinance is preempted by federal law and violates the prohibition on unreasonable searches and seizures in the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The group said it would seek a preliminary injunction blocking the order pending the outcome of the case.

The case is Annunciation House v. Abbott, US District Court for the Western District of Texas, No. 3: 21-cv-178.

For the Complainants: Adriana Pinon of the ACLU Foundation of Texas

For Texas: not available

Read more:

Judge blocks Texas governor’s order banning transport of migrants

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