A federal appeals court handed the state of Texas a win on Tuesday when it temporarily blocked the Biden administration from removing razor wire barriers placed at the border by Texas authorities.
The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the government is barred during the appeal from “damaging, destroying, or otherwise interfering with Texas’s [concertina wire] fence in the vicinity of Eagle Pass, Texas” unless it is for a medical emergency.
The state sued the Biden administration in October over its cutting or damaging of the more than 29 miles of concertina wire along the border in order to allow illegal immigrants to enter deeper into the U.S.
“By cutting Texas’s concertina wire, the federal government has not only illegally destroyed property owned by the State of Texas; it has also disrupted the State’s border security efforts, leaving gaps in Texas’s border barriers and damaging Texas’s ability to effectively deter illegal entry into its territory,” Texas said.
The state had installed the wire near key crossing areas where there have been massive surges of illegal immigration in recent years. The federal government has said that once migrants are on U.S. soil, Border Patrol agents must apprehend them, and has claimed the wire “inhibits Border Patrol’s ability to patrol the border.”
A DHS spokesperson told Fox in October that it does not comment on pending litigation, but “generally speaking, Border Patrol agents have a responsibility under federal law to take those who have crossed onto U.S. soil without authorization into custody for processing, as well as to act when there are conditions that put our workforce or migrants at risk.”
A federal judge had initially blocked agents from cutting razor wire, but later reversed that decision, saying the state hadn’t met the requirements to issue a wider injunction.
Texas appealed and on Tuesday the Fifth Circuit Court found in Texas’ favor, meaning that for now the wire cannot be damaged or removed.
The ruling comes as the area has seen a fresh surge in migration, with a record 12,600+ encounters on Monday border-wide. As of Tuesday morning, agents in Eagle Passwere processing more than 4,500 and had 5,300 in custody.
Texas launched Operation Lone Star in 2021 to surge resources and law enforcement to the border, with other moves including the building of a border wall and the construction of a buoy barrier in the Rio Grande itself.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Monday signed legislation to allow Texas law enforcement officers to arrest someone they suspect has entered illegally. The law was immediately condemned by the White House and civil rights groups.
Fox News’ Bill Melugin, Griff Jenkins and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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