The White House on Friday warned Texas’s governor against “meddling” in federal affairs after he authorized state law enforcement to detain migrants who have illegally crossed the border from Mexico.
The order by Greg Abbott, the governor of the US state with the longest border with Mexico, sets up a potential legal conflict between Texas and Washington.
“Immigration enforcement is a federal authority, and states should not be… meddling in it,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said, accusing Abbott of having “a track record of causing chaos and confusion at the border.”
Abbott’s order empowers the Texas National Guard and the Texas Department of Safety to apprehend undocumented immigrants and return them to the border.
The governor has long attacked Democrats in Washington for allegedly being soft on immigration, and said Thursday that the measure was needed because President Joe Biden “refuses to do his job and enforce the immigration laws enacted by Congress.”
Abbott’s order came just a week after the US Supreme Court gave Biden’s administration the green light to end the so-called Remain in Mexico policy instituted by former president Donald Trump.
The policy sent some non-Mexicans who entered the United States illegally back across the southern border to wait while their cases made their way through the courts, instead of being detained or provisionally released.