AUSTIN (KVEO) — Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order Monday restricting ground transportation of migrants that “pose a risk of carrying COVID-19.”
“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,” said Gov. Abbott in the release.
The order also directs the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) to stop any vehicle upon suspicion that it is a violation of the order and send the vehicle back to its point of origin.
Under the Executive Order DPS is also allowed to impound the vehicle that violates the order or that refuses to be rerouted.
The order states:
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.
To read Abbott’s executive order, click here.
The rise in unlawful border crossings has led to a dramatic rise in #COVID19 among unlawful migrants in Texas.— Gov. Greg Abbott (@GovAbbott) July 28, 2021
This Executive Order will reduce the risk of COVID-19 exposure in Texas by reducing the transportation of migrants throughout our state. https://t.co/ThYNLricNA
Sister Norma Pimentel with Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley told KVEO that it has documents stating legal provisions for transporting migrants for humanitarian reasons.
The order comes a day after reports of migrants with COVID-19 were staying at a hotel in La Joya, Texas.
The La Joya Police Department held a press conference on Tuesday to voice their concern for the community.
After finding out about the migrant families in La Joya, Hidalgo County Judge Richard Cortez released a statement calling on federal agents and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott to better protect the community from COVID-19.
We have been doing well as a community in slowing the spread of this deadly virus… But ill-conceived policies by both the federal and state governments are beginning to have serious consequences on Hidalgo County. I call on federal immigration officials to stop releasing infected migrants into our community and I am further calling on Governor Abbott to return to Hidalgo County the safety tools he took away that would help us slow the spread of this disease.RICHARD CORTEZ, JUDGE OF HIDALGO COUNTY
Sister Norma has told KVEO they have seen more migrant intakes at the Humanitarian Respite Center.