Greg Abbott’s despicable executive order targeting migrants has been blocked, at least for now. Reuters reports that George W. Bush-appointed U.S. District Judge Kathleen Cardone has halted the Republican governor’s plan to stop and even confiscate the vehicles of civilian drivers and contractors who they believe are transporting migrants, ruling that it posed “irreparable” harm.
“The Executive Order causes irreparable injury to the United States and to individuals the United States is charged with protecting, jeopardizing the health and safety of noncitizens in federal custody, risking the safety of federal law enforcement personnel and their families, and exacerbating the spread of COVID-19,” the judge ruled. The report said the order is in place until Aug. 13, when the parties go back to court.
The ruling stems from a lawsuit filed by Attorney General Merrick Garland late last week that called Abbott’s order unconstitutional, stating that it has the potential to impede contractors working on behalf of the federal government, as well as interfering with the federal government’s “broad, undoubted power over the subject of immigration.” Garland’s letter said that “in short, the Order is contrary to federal law and cannot be enforced.”
Civil rights and legal experts also warned of racial profiling that could stem from the order. “Would any car carrying Latino passengers in Texas be subjected to a traffic stop? Given that the state is home to more than 11 million Latinos, according to the U.S. Census, comprising more than 40% of the population, that seems like a Texas-size recipe for the violation of Latinos' civil rights,” wrote CNN columnist Raul Reyes. While issued just one week ago, immigrant rights advocates said that Abbott’s order was already impacting vulnerable individuals—including children.
“Because of Abbott’s EO restricting transporting migrants, people are afraid to help migrant families. The local shelter wouldn’t take people in because they could not help them get out,” tweeted Texas Fair Defense Project. “So instead of dropping people off at the shelter like they usually do, [Customs and Border Protection] dropped families off at a local gas station. Pregnant people, children, and others were stranded with no place to go.”
And because outside law enforcement officers have flocked to the state to aid in Abbott’s equally despicable plan to arrest and detain other migrants who have recently crossed into the state, “there are no hotel rooms,” the organization continued. “Migrant families are walking around the city looking for a place to sleep.”
Cardone’s ruling halting Abbott’s order came on the same day as the second anniversary of the El Paso mass shooting by a white supremacist terrorist in 2019. President Joe Biden and state and local leaders issued statements remembering the 23 stolen lives, while also condemning continued rhetoric spewed by Republican officials against Latino and immigrant communities. While the president’s statement did not name names, other statements that day and in the days beforehand pointed directly at Abbott.
El Paso Rep. Veronica Escobar told El Paso Matters that not only has Abbott “not done anything” to stop anti-immigrant rhetoric, “but we’ve gone in the opposite direction, the more dangerous direction on so many fronts.” Former San Antonio mayor Julián Castro said that “[j]ust last week Texas’s governor signed a ‘show me your papers’ executive order encouraging discrimination towards Latinos. This kind of language and actions fuel bigotry and inspire violence.” America’s Voice campaign manager and El Pasoan Mario Carrillo said that “[b]y now, Abbott and other GOP leaders should know that this ugly rhetoric comes with a body count. They are making us targets and they don't care."
Governor Greg Abbott knows exactly what he’s doing, exactly what he’s saying, and exactly what it could lead to. As noted earlier this week, back in 2019 Abbott was forced to spit out a nonapology statement over an anti-immigrant fundraising letter sent out in his name just one day before the El Paso terror attack. It complained to recipients that "if we're going to defend Texas, we'll need to take matters into our own hands."
But it didn’t stop Abbott carrying out further attacks in the two years since. After early on ending pandemic safety measures in his state, he then falsely tried to blame asylum-seekers for Texas’ COVID problem. He’s doubled, tripled, Olympic-quadrupled-down on the anti-immigrant bs. And, if God forbid some horrible attack on Latino and immigrant communities happen again, Abbott will shamelessly throw his hands up in the air and say he has no idea how this happened.