by Bethany Blankley
The Texas border city of Laredo has sued the Biden administration, hoping to halt its policy of transferring several hundred people a day into the city who have illegally entered the U.S. through two Texas Border Patrol sectors: Rio Grande Valley and Del Rio.
Assistant City Attorney Alyssa Castillon sued the Department of Homeland Security and its secretary, Alejandro Mayorkas, Customs and Border Protection and its senior official, Troy Miller, and Border Patrol chief Rodney S. Scott. The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas.
Border Patrol intends to double the number of people it brings from the Rio Grande Valley sector, which has seen the largest surge of illegal border crossings in the past few months. Laredo officials estimate that every day, between three and six buses of detained refugees, immigrants and migrants (RIMs) are already being transported to Laredo from the Rio Grande Valley and Del Rio sectors, totaling between 250 and 350 people a day.
Castillon asked the court to grant a temporary restraining order and hold an emergency hearing.
“As Laredo is an underserved medical community with limited resources, it simply cannot accommodate a surge in COVID-19 positives,” the complaint states. The sheer volume of people being brought to a city with a population of 262,000 could expose “the community and fellow citizens to this deadly virus during their travels all over the country,” city officials argue.
“The release of people who are COVID-19 positive and/or have been exposed to someone who is COVID-19 positive poses a danger that this city and country have endeavored to remedy since the inception of this pandemic,” the complaint states.
“Unfortunately, the federal government has left this public health concern to be tackled by our local government with no considerations of the city’s little to no resources nor regard for the deadly ramifications it could have on the country.”
The brief notes that the Holding Institute, a non-profit community center in Laredo, had reported 99 positive coronavirus cases between July 1-7, and a positivity rate of 8%, a significant increase from June, when there were 50 positive cases and a 2.8% positivity rate.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order Wednesday restricting ground transportation of illegal immigrants who may be, or are, COVID-19 positive from being brought into Texas communities. The order directs the Texas Department of Public Safety to stop any vehicle upon reasonable suspicion and reroute drivers to their point of origin or a port of entry and impound the vehicle.
“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,” Abbott said in a statement.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton also sued the Biden administration for not fully using Title 42. The administration has exempted unaccompanied children and certain family units from Title 42 provisions since May 12. Title 42 was used by the previous administration to protect Americans from COVID-19 by rapidly expelling those migrants who might transmit the coronavirus or other contagious diseases into the U.S.
Paxton argues that Title 42, “when it was faithfully enforced, was extraordinarily successful in expelling illegal aliens, protecting Americans’ public health, and preserving our limited public resources. The Biden Administration has unlawfully abandoned its legal duties, resulting in a massive increase in illegal immigration at the border, and in turn forced Texas to bear additional massive costs and harms. The Court must intervene to stop this insanity.”
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Bethany Blankley contributes to The Center Square.