On Monday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit issued a temporary block on a lower court’s order that allows the Biden administration to direct Border Patrol agents to cut concertina wire placed along the Rio Grande by the state of Texas.
Texas filed the underlying lawsuit against the Biden administration. The case, in part, seeks to prevent the federal government from cutting or removing the border wire the state has placed on the border with Mexico. The state argues that such actions by federal agents would violate state sovereignty and property rights.
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U.S. District Court Judge Alina Moses of the Western District of Texas ruled against the state’s initial request for an injunction to block any interference with the wire barrier. However, she expressed general criticism about the Biden administration’s failures in enforcing federal immigration law.
Judge Moses wrote in her order: “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.” Monday’s order from the Fifth Circuit prevents any interference with the wire until that court receives further pleadings and arguments from the parties and presumably conducts a hearing.
A three-judge panel issued the order without written opinions. It requires the Biden administration to file a written response to Texas’ request for a full injunction by Friday, December 8.
In response to the Fifth Circuit’s order, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said, “I am pleased the court recognized the extent of the federal government’s blatant and disturbing efforts to subvert law and order at our State’s border with Mexico.”
“This is an important step supporting Texas’s right to protect our citizens from Biden’s doctrine of open borders at any cost,” Paxton added.
Part of the argument made by the Biden administration before Judge Moses in the district court claimed that cutting the border wire is necessary to allow agents to respond to emergencies and carry out law enforcement duties.
Texas has argued that the wire barrier is essential for border security and to help ensure the safety of illegal migrants by preventing them from entering the United States outside of a normal port of entry through legal means. The state showed evidence that it had spent $11 million over the last three years to place 70,000 rolls of concertina wire in strategically located areas along the border.
As the case moves forward, it serves as an essential test of the balance of power between the states and the federal government regarding security and police protection of people and property.