Houstonians weigh in on Abbott's new migrant transportation order

Erica Simon Image
Saturday, July 31, 2021
EMBED <>More Videos

Abbott issued an order allowing troopers to reroute vehicles back to their port of entry if police suspect the driver is transporting migrants who have COVID-19.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Houston is one of the most diverse cities in the nation, which is why so many are talking about Gov. Greg Abbott's new executive order that would allow DPS troopers to pull over or stop vehicles believed to be transporting undocumented immigrants.

Some are calling Executive Order GA 37 racist and discriminatory.

"This is blatantly violating a lot of rights, even the rights of people who want to protect themselves against COVID-19. To use COVID-19 for his own political gain is really... we condemn that action he has taken," said Cesar Espinosa with FIEL Houston.

FIEL Houston is an immigrant-led civil rights organization. Espinosa said he believes the new order is flat out wrong.

"It really creates a dangerous atmosphere because now you're having groups of people being targeted. It could lead to racial discrimination. It could lead to racial profiling, and that's not what we want. That's not what Texas should stand for," he said.

ABC13 found people both for and against the order. Herb Harrison said he thinks it's counterproductive.

"I'm no scientist here, but if you're searching people's cars while they're in there driving around, you don't know if they have COVID. Then, you may introduce it to police force, and then you're putting even the police force at risk at that point," Harrison said.

Others think Abbott has the right idea.

"I think it's important. I think because the borders are so open today, that immigrants are coming through with diseases we don't know. They could be coming in with the coronavirus and other diseases that we don't know anything about," said Mary Davenport.

A number of groups including the ACLU have taken aim at the governor. The U.S. Justice Department filed a lawsuit against Abbott and his order on Friday.

Espinosa said he understands why.

"We believe he has definitely gone way too far at this point."

For updates on this story, follow Erica Simon on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.