Greg Abbott Restricts Migrants Who ‘Pose A Risk Of COVID-19’ From Being Transported Into Communities

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Daniel O'Keefe Contributor
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Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed an executive order Wednesday that aims to prevent non-governmental entities from providing transportation to migrants “who pose a risk of COVID-19 into Texas communities.” 

The order states that “no person, other than a federal, state, or local law-enforcement official, shall provide ground transportation to a group of migrants who have been detained by [Customs and Border Protection] for crossing the border illegally or who would have been subject to expulsion under the Title 42 order.”

Title 42 refers to a policy implemented by the Trump administration that allows border officials to remove migrants detained between ports of entry who “pose a serious danger of the introduction of [a communicable] disease into the United States.”

Under the governor’s order, the “Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) is directed to stop any vehicle upon suspicion” of transporting migrants, “and to reroute such a vehicle back to its point of origin or point of entry if a violation is confirmed.”

Abbott’s actions attempt to address the recent surge of migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border, especially following recent reports of widespread COVID-19 infections at crowded immigration detention centers. (RELATED: Biden’s Immigration Plan Manages To Upset Just About Everyone)

“The dramatic rise in unlawful border crossings has also led to a dramatic rise in COVID-19 cases among unlawful migrants who have made their way into our state, and we must do more to protect Texans from this virus and reduce the burden on our communities,” the governor said in a statement. “This Executive Order will reduce the risk of COVID-19 exposure in our communities.”

Multiple advocacy organizations have condemned Abbott’s order, according to The Hill. Kate Huddleston, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Texas, said that the governor’s “latest efforts to make Texas an anti-immigrant police state are yet another unconstitutional assault on civil rights targeting border communities.”

“The governor’s order,” Huddleston added, “will lead to racial profiling and over-policing — with state troopers pulling over cars and buses without lawful justification, profiling passengers, and questioning people about their immigration status.”

Abbott’s order comes just one day after he ordered the Texas National Guard to assist law enforcement officials in arresting illegal immigrants at the southern border.