Republican Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order Wednesday designed to restrict border entries in Texas, saying the action will cut down on Covid-19 infections, as his party continues to criticize the president’s handling of the border.
The move comes about a month after the governor vowed to build a border wall in Texas, a nod to former President Donald Trump’s plan to curb migration. The Republican party has been chiding the Biden administration’s handling of heightened border crossings, urging Vice President Kamala Harris to visit the U.S.-Mexico border and criticizing the trip she made in June.
Abbott’s order is aimed at “restricting ground transportation of migrants who pose a risk of carrying COVID-19 into Texas communities.” The order directed the state’s Department of Public Safety to stop and reroute “any vehicle upon reasonable suspicion of such violation.”
“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. “This Executive Order will reduce the risk of COVID-19 exposure in our communities.”
Abbott, in particular, has seized upon immigration as an issue to hammer the Biden administration ahead of a possible 2024 presidential bid. He also plans to close shelters that hold about 4,500 unaccompanied immigrant children later this summer.
Covid-19 cases are on the rise in many areas of the U.S., including Texas, with President Joe Biden urging Americans to get vaccinated to curb the spread of the Delta variant. Some politicians on the right have said this surge in Texas is linked to increased border crossings from Mexico.