Biden Administration Asks Supreme Court to Allow Border Agents to Cut Texas’ Razor Wire Fences

The Biden administration is asking the Supreme Court to authorize Border Patrol personnel to cut razor wire fences on the US-Mexico border.

The Justice Department made the request in its emergency appeal on Tuesday, which petitioned the justices to put on hold last month’s appellate ruling in favor of Texas.

The court decision had forced federal agents to stop cutting the concertina wire the state has installed along roughly 30 miles (48 kilometers) off the Rio Grande near the border city of Eagle Pass. Large numbers of migrants have crossed there in recent months.

The court case pitting Republican-led Texas against Democratic President Joe Biden’s administration is part of a broader fight over immigration enforcement. The state also installed razor wire near El Paso and in the Rio Grande Valley, where migrants have crossed in high numbers.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott also has authorized installing floating barriers in the Rio Grande near Eagle Pass and allowed troopers to arrest and jail thousands of migrants on trespassing charges.

In court papers, the administration said the wire impedes Border Patrol agents from reaching migrants as they cross the river and that, in any case, federal immigration law purportedly trumps Texas’ efforts to stem the flow of migrants into the country.

Texas officials have argued that federal agents have been cutting the wire to help groups crossing illegally through the river before taking them in for processing and release into the United States.

The Biden administration is not just refusing to enforce immigration law, it is now threatening to sue states that enforce their own immigration laws.

The Biden administration in late December warned Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott that legal action would be taken if the state enforced a new legislation that authorizes officials to arrest, detain, prosecute, and deport illegal immigrants.

In a letter to Abbott, a Justice Department official stated that the bill was illegal and “contrary to the US commitment of ensuring the processing of noncitizens consistent with the Immigration and Nationality Act.”

SB4, or Senate Bill 4, is part of the state’s Operation Lone Star. It takes effect on March 5.

“SB 4 is preempted and violates the United States Constitution. Accordingly, the United States intends to file suit to enjoin the enforcement of SB 4 unless Texas agrees to refrain from enforcing the law,” Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Brian M. Boynton writes in the memo, obtained by CBS News.

SB 4, which Abbott signed into law on December 18, makes unlawfully entering the United States from Mexico a state felony and allows police to detain those suspected of crossing the Rio Grande between ports of entry.

Migrants found unlawfully entering the nation would be charged with a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in prison. Repeat offenders would face a second-degree felony charge that could result in up to 20 years in jail.

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SB 4 authorizes Texas courts to dismiss charges against migrants who agree to be deported.

The new state law “intrudes into a field that is occupied by the federal government and is preempted,” Boynton argues.

“Indeed, the Supreme Court has confirmed that ‘the removal process’ must be ‘entrusted to the discretion of the Federal Government’ because a ‘decision on removability’ touches ‘on foreign relations and must be made with one voice.’”

The Biden administration has requested that Abbott affirm that he would not execute the new legislation by January 3.

Since 2022, Texas Governor Greg Abbott, a Republican, has transported thousands of migrants out of his state to cities controlled by Democrats, such as Los Angeles, New York, and Washington, D.C.

Mayors in Democrat-run cities across the country, particularly New York City Mayor Eric Adams, have bridled at the Texas governor’s transmigration tactic to pressure blue states to develop sensible border policies.

By Melinda Davies
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