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Monday, March 4, 2024

Texas Judge Rips into Biden’s Handling of Border in Dispute over Razor Wire

'The evidence presented amply demonstrates the utter failure of the Defendants to deter, prevent, and halt unlawful entry into the United States...'

(Headline USA) Border Patrol agents for now can cut razor wire that Texas installed on the U.S.–Mexico border under a judge’s ruling that also took President Joe Biden’s administration to task for its handling of immigration enforcement.

The ruling is at least a temporary defeat for Texas officials who say Border Patrol agents have repeatedly cut, damaged and moved some of the roughly 30 miles of concertina wire the state installed near the border city of Eagle Pass, where large numbers of illegal immigrants have crossed in recent months.

U.S. District Judge Alia Moses, an appointee of former President George W. Bush, initially issued an emergency order in October that prevented agents from cutting razor wire in Eagle Pass, except in emergencies. On Wednesday, however, she ruled that the state hadn’t met the requirements to issue a wider preliminary injunction.

At the same time, she said razor wire has proved to be effective at deterring migrants elsewhere along Texas’s 1,200-mile southern border.

“The law may be on the side of the Defendants and compel a resolution in their favor today, but it does not excuse their culpable and duplicitous conduct,” Moses wrote. “The evidence presented amply demonstrates the utter failure of the Defendants to deter, prevent, and halt unlawful entry into the United States.”

On Thursday, Texas filed an appeal with the conservative-leaning 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

“I am disappointed that the federal government’s blatant and disturbing efforts to subvert law and order at our State’s border with Mexico will be allowed to continue,” Republican Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said in a statement.

Border Patrol agents are allowed to cut the wire in emergencies, such as when a migrant on the other side needs medical assistance. But Texas officials have argued that federal agents also were cutting it to help groups crossing illegally through the river before taking them in for processing. Moses said Texas failed to prove the wire cutting was a formal policy.

Spokespersons for U.S. Customs and Border Protection did not immediately return an email seeking comment Thursday.

Texas also has installed razor wire around El Paso and the Rio Grande Valley, where migrants have also crossed in high numbers. But the barrier has drawn the sharpest criticism in Eagle Pass, where some state troopers have raised concerns over the multiple injuries caused by razor wire.

According to Moses’s 34-page ruling, the Biden administration produced documents that reflected how the wire “inhibits Border Patrol’s ability to patrol the border.”

The documents went on to state that while Texas troopers and federal agents have coordinated in the past when it comes to the concertina wire, the “relationship has deteriorated over time.”

Eagle Pass is a hub of Republican Gov. Greg Abbott’s massive border mission known as Operation Lone Star. He has also authorized installing floating barriers in the Rio Grande near Eagle Pass and allowed troopers to arrest and jail thousands of migrants on trespassing charges.

Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press

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