The White House claimed Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is causing “chaos and confusion” at the border and that states should butt out of immigration.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre took questions in a short press conference ahead of President Biden’s Friday visit to the Central Intelligence Agency.
Jean-Pierre was asked by a reporter if the Biden administration had any plans for a legal response to Abbott’s executive order authorizing state law enforcement officials and the Texas National Guard to apprehend illegal immigrants and return them to the border.
“Immigration enforcement is a federal authority, and states should not be meddling in it,” the White House press secretary said.
TEXAS GOV. ABBOTT AUTHORIZES LAW ENFORCEMENT TO RETURN ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS TO BORDER
“Especially Texas Gov. Abbott, who has a track record of causing chaos and confusion at the border,” Jean-Pierre claimed. “So I would refer you to [the Department of Justice] for any legal matter. But, again, immigration enforcement is a federal authority.”
Abbott signed an order Thursday allowing Texas law enforcement to return illegal immigrants apprehended in the state back to the U.S. border just as counties have urged him to declare the migrant crisis an “invasion.”
Abbott’s order allows the Texas National Guard and the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) to apprehend and return illegal immigrants who have crossed between ports of entry to the southern border. Under the order, illegal aliens will be taken to the U.S. but not into Mexico.
It comes at a time of historic migrant encounters at the border. There were more than 239,000 migrant encounters in May alone, and Abbott said that there were 5,000 migrant apprehensions in Texas alone over Independence Day weekend.
Abbott has taken a number of dramatic measures to cope with the flood of migrants hitting the state, including busing migrants to Washington, D.C. Last year, the state surged resources and law enforcement to the border under the still-ongoing Operation Lone Star to arrest those entering the country illegally.
Fox News’ Adam Shaw contributed reporting.