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Immigrant allies say Abbott's executive order sets a 'dangerous precedent'

In a controversial executive order, Texas Governor Greg Abbott is authorizing state law enforcement to send migrants they arrest back to the border.

SAN ANTONIO — In a controversial executive order, Texas Governor Greg Abbott is authorizing state law enforcement to send migrants they arrest back to the border.

Many are questioning the intention and legality of this new directive.

"He is in direct violation of our Constitution and the separation of powers," said Rodolfo Rosales, Texas State Director for the League of United Latin American Citizens -- or LULAC

Earlier this week, county leaders in South Texas pushed for Governor Greg Abbott to declare an "invasion". Doing so, they said, would give state authorities the ability to expel migrants under the Texas and U.S. Constitution.

RELATED: Abbott issues executive order permitting officials to return immigrants in Texas illegally to the border

Today, Abbott issued an executive order. He's giving the National Guard and Texas DPS permission to arrest migrants for federal immigration violations and send them back to the ports of entry.

"While President Biden refuses to do his job and enforce the immigration laws enacted by Congress, the State of Texas is once again stepping up and taking unprecedented action to protect Americans and secure our southern border," Abbott said.

Adriana Quiroga, the Policy and Government Affairs Strategist for RAICES, calls the executive order an overreach of political power. 

"The Biden Administration has made efforts to end Remain in Mexico and has implemented exceptions for Title 42," said Quiroga. "We see this as being direct retaliation."

Immigrant advocates and allies are calling on President Biden and Attorney General Merrick Garland to intervene.

"To allow the governor to do this is basically allowing a hodgepodge of immigration policy across the United States," said Rosales. "This isn't only affecting Texas. This is setting a very dangerous precedent for the United States of America."

Experts say the only way state authorities can enforce immigration law is if given permission by the federal government.

RELATED: Texas congressman says immigration reform should start with better work visa program

"They're continuing to criminalize and dehumanize immigrant communities who are seeking safety and asylum, which they are lawfully allowed to do," said Quiroga. "Unfortunately we see this as being another political stunt on behalf of the governor."

Governor Abbott is a vocal critic of President Biden's border policies and said Texas will continue to take action to address those challenges.

This move by the governor sets up what will likely be a legal fight between the state and the federal government over immigration enforcement.

It's also unclear what would happen to the immigrants once they are returned to the border.

"When we stop dehumanizing these people as illegals, then we will finally realize that this is a humanitarian crisis," said Rosales.

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