Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued an executive order Wednesday giving the state’s Department of Public Safety (DPS) troopers the authority and ability to stop suspected vehicles carrying illegal immigrants. The basis for the executive order is the illegality regarding civilians providing ground transportation for those who crossed the border without undergoing the correct process.
The executive order did not say anything about where the DPS troopers can stop the vehicles so it can happen anywhere. Those who will refuse to stop will have their vehicle impounded. Further, Abbott’s reason for creating such an executive order is the rise in COVID-19 cases in Texas. He noted that it has also contributed to the dramatic increase of the state’s positivity rate because of many unlawful border crossings.
Abbott also ordered the Texas National Guard members to assist the DPS troopers in implementing the order. The order was through a letter addressed to Major General Tracy R. Norris, Adjutant General of the Texas National Guard. The letter reads in part, “To respond to this disaster and secure the rule of law at our Southern border, more manpower is needed. DPS Needs help in arresting those who are violating state law.”
This is the latest of the efforts of Abbott and his administration to decrease the number of illegal border crossings. In May, a declaration was made by Abbott directing DPS to enforce all federal and state criminal laws concerning illegal border crossing. Some of the laws included in the order are criminal trespassing, human trafficking, and smuggling. Also, this July, a prison in Dilley, Texas, started to detain illegal immigrants.
It is unclear if the latest executive order is legal, as no one has questioned it yet.
A legal expert, according to KHOU 11, however, said that “Governor Abbott’s executive order is overly broad and will be difficult to enforce because it is impossible to determine whether the group consists of migrants and whether the group of migrants previously had been detained by CBP for crossing the border illegally or would have been subject to expulsion.”
The governor has not commented on this.