Migrant advocacy groups on Abbott's controversial traffic stop order: 'It is detrimental'

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A legal battle is brewing between the U.S. Department of Justice and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.

On Tuesday, a federal judge temporarily blocked Abbott's executive order targeting migrants.

Last Friday, the DOJ sued the state over the order, which allowed Texas Department of Public Safety troopers to stop drivers for suspicion of transporting migrants who may be carrying COVID-19.

Abbott said the move is about protecting Texans from coronavirus, which he claims is coming across the border with migrants. However, advocacy groups argue that the order encourages profiling and makes the entire community less safe.

"Number one, this executive action should have never existed to begin with," said FIEL Houston's Executive Director Cesar Espinosa.

He said his community had been critical of the governor's executive order from the start.

READ ALSO: Houstonians weigh in on Abbott's new migrant transportation order

Espinosa accused Abbott of using the migrant community as a scapegoat for the spread of COVID and creating fear of government and police.

"For us, it really almost boggles our mind to know that these things continue to happen," he said. "But at the end of day, we don't expect anything better from Gov. Abbott. We're looking to find new leadership for the state of Texas in the year 2022."

Espinosa said he expects the governor will appeal the judge's ruling and continue to target migrants.

Abbott's office hinted at that notion in the following statement sent to ABC13.



"The Court's recent order is temporary and based on limited evidence. We look forward to providing the Court with the evidence to support the Governor's Executive Order to protect Texans. The Biden Administration has knowingly-and willfully-released COVID-19 positive migrants into Texas communities, risking the potential exposure and infection of Texas residents. The Governor's Executive Order attempts to prevent the Biden Administration from spreading COVID-19 into Texas and protect the health and safety of Texans."

Espinosa responded saying, "At the end of the day, these types of unilateral actions taken by Gov. Abbott send the opposite message, and it is detrimental, not only for immigrants, but for the community at large."

A judge will ultimately decide whether Abbott can pass orders on immigration, which is a federal issue. The case will be back in court on Aug. 13.
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