The order, issued last Wednesday, was designed as a public health measure to tackle Covid-19, which is on the rise in Texas amid Abbott’s opposition to new mask warrants or vaccine requirements. The Justice Department filed a complaint two days later.
The Justice Department has alleged that the order – in which Abbott ordered state soldiers to stop vehicles suspected of transporting recently released migrants – violates the Constitution’s supremacy clause, which establishes that the laws Federal laws and regulations prevail.
The lawsuit alleged that Abbott’s order compromised the “safety of non-citizens detained by the federal government, risking the safety of federal law enforcement agencies and their families, and exacerbating the spread of COVID-19 in our communities “. The department further filed an emergency request for a court order that would immediately block Abbott’s enforcement of the order.
Judge Kathleen Cardone, who was appointed by President George W. Bush, said on Tuesday that the federal government was “likely to prevail” over its claims that the ordinance violates the supremacy clause and concluded that the he executive order causes “irreparable harm” to the United States and to the individuals the United States is charged with protecting.
The temporary restraining order will remain in effect until August 13.
Abbott’s office said in a statement it was eager to defend the order in court and argued that it was issued in an attempt to prevent “the spread of Covid-19 in Texas and to protect the health and safety of Texans “.
Abbott’s order ordered the Texas Department of Public Safety to stop vehicles that, under “reasonable suspicion”, appear to be transporting migrants who were released after illegally crossing the border. It also gave state officials the power to divert or even impound these vehicles once it is confirmed that they are carrying the migrants in question. Federal and state law enforcement are exempt under the ordinance.
In its court documents, the Biden administration said Abbott’s order would have “enormous consequences” and could “be likely to provoke confrontations between the DPS and federal staff, contractors and partners moving non- nationals, an important immigration function “.
This story has been updated with additional details.