Texas Gov. Abbott restricts migrant transport amid COVID spread

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order on Wednesday restricting the transportation of migrants throughout the state who may pose a risk of carrying COVID-19 amid the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant.

The Republican governor’s order cited that “the admittance and movement of migrants under the Biden administration” has exposed Texans to the coronavirus “creating a public health disaster” in the Lone Star State.

As a result, Abbott banned anyone, excluding a “federal, state, or local law-enforcement official” from transporting migrants through the state. The order directed the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) to stop “any vehicle upon reasonable suspicion” that it is in violation of the order and “reroute such a vehicle back to its point of origin or a port of entry.” DPS has also been authorized to impound any vehicle that refuses to comply.

The order came two days after the La Joya Police Department said a migrant family claimed they were released by Border Patrol after testing positive for the coronavirus. The department revealed that detained migrants who “showed symptoms of illness or were positive for COVID-19” were quarantined by Border Patrol before being released to hotels in McAllen and La Joya paid for by Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott says the Biden administration’s border policies are “creating a public health disaster”.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott says the Biden administration’s border policies are “creating a public health disaster”.
Marie D. De Jesús/Houston Chronicle via AP

Upon investigation, law enforcement discovered 20 to 30 people staying at the Texas Inn Hotel in La Joya, where the initial migrant family was staying.

Abbott cited the La Joya incident in his executive order, adding that “President Biden’s refusal to enforce laws passed by the United States Congress cannot be allowed to compromise the health and safety of Texas by knowingly exposing them to COVID-19.”

The Biden Administration has received bi-partisan backlash of the massive surge of migrant crossings in recent months. Over the weekend, Border Patrol authorities in La Grulla came across

the “largest group of migrants” in the area for the fiscal year so far, apprehending over 700 individuals.

The month of June alone saw nearly 190,000 illegal crossings from Mexico into the U.S., the most in more than 21 years.

Migrants are processed by Border Patrol agents in Penitas, Texas on July 8, 2021.
Migrants are processed by Border Patrol agents in Penitas, Texas on July 8, 2021.
AFP via Getty Images

Around 44 percent of Texans have been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus with roughly 51 percent having received at least one shot, according to tracking data from the New York Times.

As the delta variant continues to spread throughout the United States, the Lone Star state has seen a slow rise in its seven-day average of new cases with over 6,600 reported on Wednesday.