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Case Name United States v. Texas; Annunciation House v. Abbott IM-TX-0061
Docket / Court 3:21-cv-00173 ( W.D. Tex. )
State/Territory Texas
Case Type(s) Immigration and/or the Border
Special Collection COVID-19 (novel coronavirus)
Attorney Organization ACLU Affiliates (any)
Case Summary
COVID-19 Summary: This is a case about Texas Governor Greg Abbot's executive order that prevented anyone other than law-enforcement officials from transporting multiple categories of non-citizen migrants regardless of unaccompanied minor, asylum, or refugee status. On July 30, 2021, the United ... read more >
COVID-19 Summary: This is a case about Texas Governor Greg Abbot's executive order that prevented anyone other than law-enforcement officials from transporting multiple categories of non-citizen migrants regardless of unaccompanied minor, asylum, or refugee status. On July 30, 2021, the United States filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas requesting injunctive and declaratory relief. The court issued a preliminary injunction on August 26, 2021.


This case is about Texas Governor Greg Abbot's executive order that prevented anyone other than law-enforcement officials from transporting multiple categories of non-citizen migrants regardless of unaccompanied minor, asylum, or refugee status.

The United States filed a complaint on July 30, 2021, in the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas asking for an injunction to prevent enforcing the executive order relating to the transportation of migrants during the COVID-19 disaster, and declaratory relief stating the order violated the Supremacy Clause and the doctrine of intergovernmental immunity, and therefore is invalid, null, and void.

Gov. Greg Abbott had signed Executive Order GA-37 two days prior, on July 28, 2021. Gov. Abbott used his authority and responsibility "for meeting . . . the dangers to the state and people presented by disasters" to enact this order for the remainder of the COVID-19 pandemic. The order stated that "No person, other than a federal, state, or local law-enforcement official, shall provide ground transportation to a group of migrants who have been detained by CBP [Customs and Border Patrol] for crossing the border illegally or who would have been subject to expulsion under the Title 42 order." It also granted authority to the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS), to enforce this order including stopping vehicles upon suspicion of violating the order, rerouting vehicles, and impounding vehicles found to be transporting migrants. The order made clear that the government of Texas believed that the Biden Administration was not doing enough to enforce Title 42, the order put in place at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic that allowed immigration officials to expel migrants who crossed the border quickly without allowing them to apply for asylum.

The plaintiffs argued that GA-37 was unconstitutional, interrupted processes carried out by the federal government, and would cause injury to a number of non-citizen migrants, and citizens who work in immigration facilities, and their families by exacerbating the spread of COVID-19. The executive order would prevent all Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) and Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) contractors from transporting people out of CBP and ORR facilities which in turn would cause a number of associated problems including:
  1. preventing unaccompanied minors from being transported to their sponsors who are usually family members who have agreed to care for the children while they await trials regarding more permanent immigration;
  2. preventing people in immigration facilities from accessing emergency healthcare at local hospitals;
  3. making it difficult if not impossible for people seeking more permanent immigration to get to their court hearing, and trials;
  4. overburdening CBP facilities with people who should have already been released and transported elsewhere, which could cause COVID-19 to spread between those who cannot properly distance from others;
  5. and preventing people, who are not citizens but have been granted the authority to live outside detention facilities while awaiting trial, from going about their normal business.


On August 4, 2021, Annunciation House, Angry Tias & Abuelas of the Rio Grande Valley, and two other individuals also involved in the assistance and transportation of migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas. Represented by the ACLU, they also requested declaratory and injunctive relief from GA-37, as well as attorneys' fees. On the same day, they filed a motion for a preliminary injunction and a motion to consolidate their case with the one filed by the United States. Judge Kathleen Cardone consolidated the cases on August 26.

Also on August 26, 2021, Judge Cardone issued a preliminary injunction that directed Gov. Abbott and all other actors on behalf of the State to stop enforcement of Executive Order GA-37 until the resolution of this action.

This case is ongoing as of September 24, 2021.

Kol Chaiken - 09/24/2021


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Federalism (including 10th Amendment)
Supremacy Clause
Content of Injunction
Preliminary relief granted
COVID-19
Transfer-ordered or process created/modified
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
General
Access to public accommodations - governmental
Classification / placement
Government Services (specify)
Placement in detention facilities
Transportation
Immigration/Border
Asylum - procedure
Deportation - procedure
Detention - conditions
Detention - procedures
Family Separation
Refugees
Undocumented immigrants - state and local regulation
Plaintiff Type
Non-DOJ federal government plaintiff
Non-profit NON-religious organization
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983
Ex parte Young (federal or state officials)
Defendant(s) State of Texas
Plaintiff Description United States, and two organizations and two individuals involved in the assistance and transportation of migrants in the Sate of Texas.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU Affiliates (any)
Class action status sought No
Class action status outcome Not sought
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Preliminary injunction / Temp. restraining order
Source of Relief Litigation
Filed 08/30/2021
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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  See this case at CourtListener.com (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
  ACLU Files Federal Lawsuit Challenging Texas Migrant Transportation Order
American Civil Liberties Union
Date: Aug. 5, 2021
By: ACLU
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Court Docket(s)
W.D. Tex.
08/26/2021
3:21-cv-00173-KC
IM-TX-0061-9000.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
W.D. Tex.
08/26/2021
3:21-cv-00178-KC
IM-TX-0061-9001.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
W.D. Tex.
07/30/2021
Complaint [ECF# 1]
IM-TX-0061-0001.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
W.D. Tex.
08/04/2021
Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief [ECF# 1]
IM-TX-0061-0002.pdf | Detail
Source: ACLU
W.D. Tex.
08/26/2021
Order [ECF# 52]
IM-TX-0061-0003.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Cardone, Kathleen (W.D. Tex.) show/hide docs
IM-TX-0061-0003 | IM-TX-0061-9000 | IM-TX-0061-9001
Plaintiff's Lawyers Amdur, Spencer E. W. (California) show/hide docs
IM-TX-0061-0002 | IM-TX-0061-9000 | IM-TX-0061-9001
Avallone, Zachary Anthony (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-TX-0061-0001 | IM-TX-0061-9000
Boynton, Brian M (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-TX-0061-0001 | IM-TX-0061-9000
Cheung, Ming (New York) show/hide docs
IM-TX-0061-0002 | IM-TX-0061-9000 | IM-TX-0061-9001
Cruz, Bernardo Rafael (Texas) show/hide docs
IM-TX-0061-0002 | IM-TX-0061-9000 | IM-TX-0061-9001
Drake, Brantley Shaw (Texas) show/hide docs
IM-TX-0061-0002
Ehrlich, Stephen (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-TX-0061-0001
Eiland, Katrina L. (California) show/hide docs
IM-TX-0061-0002 | IM-TX-0061-9000 | IM-TX-0061-9001
Gerardi, Michael J. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-TX-0061-9000
Haas, Alexander K (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-TX-0061-0001 | IM-TX-0061-9000
Huddleston, Kathryn (Texas) show/hide docs
IM-TX-0061-0002 | IM-TX-0061-9000 | IM-TX-0061-9001
Jadwat, Omar C. (New York) show/hide docs
IM-TX-0061-0002 | IM-TX-0061-9000 | IM-TX-0061-9001
Kolsky, Joshua (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-TX-0061-0001 | IM-TX-0061-9000
Konkoly, Antonia (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-TX-0061-0001
Lin, Jean (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-TX-0061-0001 | IM-TX-0061-9000
Netter, Brian D. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-TX-0061-0001
Pinon, Adriana (Texas) show/hide docs
IM-TX-0061-0002 | IM-TX-0061-9000 | IM-TX-0061-9001
Segura, Andre (Texas) show/hide docs
IM-TX-0061-0002 | IM-TX-0061-9000 | IM-TX-0061-9001
Wofsy, Cody H. (California) show/hide docs
IM-TX-0061-0002 | IM-TX-0061-9000 | IM-TX-0061-9001
Zafar, Noor (New York) show/hide docs
IM-TX-0061-0002 | IM-TX-0061-9000 | IM-TX-0061-9001
Defendant's Lawyers Rassbach, Eric C (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-TX-0061-9000
Stone, Judd E (Texas) show/hide docs
IM-TX-0061-9000
Sweeten, Patrick Kinney (Texas) show/hide docs
IM-TX-0061-9000 | IM-TX-0061-9001
Thompson, William Thomas (Texas) show/hide docs
IM-TX-0061-9000
Windham, Lori H. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-TX-0061-9000

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