According to the Biden administration, the razor-wire fence that Texas has built along miles of the border with Mexico is interfering with federal plans to manage the border, so they hurried to the Supreme Court on Tuesday to request permission to cut through it.
Homeland Security must no longer breach the barrier unless a true medical emergency occurs, according to a federal appeals court. However, the Justice Department argued that this would limit Border Patrol officers’ autonomy in determining the best way and where to conduct border patrols and might take too long in actual situations.
“Under the Supremacy Clause, state law cannot be applied to restrain those federal agents from carrying out their federally authorized activities,” U.S. Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar wrote in her request for the justices to remove the appeals court’s order.
As a temporary barrier to discourage unauthorized border crossings, Texas strung 110 miles of concertina wire over private and public land along the Rio Grande’s banks.
According to the Department of Homeland Security, the wire poses a danger to migrants by trapping them in the river. In addition, it stops federal officials from opening up entry sites for illegal immigrants in whatever location they like. Texas filed a lawsuit after Border Patrol officers began cutting through the wire. On the grounds of sovereign immunity, a district judge rejected an injunction request and agreed with the federal government.
In a surprising turn of events, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sided with Texas and issued an injunction prohibiting Homeland Security from wire-cutting, with the exception of emergencies. This decision comes while the lawsuit makes its way through the legal system.
According to Judge Alia Moses, who rejected the first order, there were fourteen separate cases of wire-cutting, the majority of which did not constitute emergencies. The one she zeroed in on happened on September 20th, when agents proceeded to cut further holes in the concertina wire despite the presence of an existing hole fifteen feet distant. In addition, agents lowered a climbing rope to aid unauthorized individuals in clambering over the Rio Grande banks.
A Border Patrol boat waited on the river, watching the individuals pass by without stopping, questioning, or interdicting them. Agents instead hoped the migrants would walk unsupervised for a mile inland once they entered U.S. territory in order to have them processed at a Border Patrol processing facility.
Ms. Prelogar said that states cannot interfere with Homeland Security’s long-standing authority to determine how to administer the border in her request to the court to remove the injunction. One example is the power to invade private property without a warrant as long as you’re within 25 miles of the border.
“Really, if the federal government is unable to access noncitizens on private property near the border by cutting concertina wire, then it stands to reason that any jurisdiction that is against immigration enforcement, or even a single property owner, could potentially enclose a large area to hinder the enforcement of immigration law,” the solicitor general wrote.ˇ
As part of Operation Lone Star, which aims to close the security breaches that Texas Governor Greg Abbott claims President Biden left due to his lenient stance on border security, the state is deploying razor wire.
Razor wire isn’t the only thing Texas is doing to border control; the Lone Star State is also constructing its own wall, sending state troopers to the border to enforce arrest warrants, and transporting undocumented immigrants to other states that have promised shelter to them.