The Supreme Court on Monday granted the Biden administration’s request to allow the border patrol to remove Texas’ border wire.
The justices agreed 5-4 to vacate an injunction put in place by the Fifth Circuit that temporarily blocked border patrol from cutting the wire installed by the state while the lawsuit is pending. Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh would have left the injunction in place, according to the order.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) asked the justices in an emergency application in early January to freeze the order, arguing the wire prevents agents from accessing “the very border they are charged with patrolling and the individuals they are charged with apprehending and inspecting.”
BREAKING: The Supreme Court allows border patrol to remove Texas border wire, siding with the Biden administration. pic.twitter.com/zekIrbU9rz
— Katelynn Richardson (@katesrichardson) January 22, 2024
While the application was pending at the Supreme Court, the Texas Department of Public Safety took control of Shelby Park in Eagle Pass, Texas, prompting the administration to respond in a court filing alleging the border patrol had been cut off from accessing the border near the park.
Texas Solicitor General Aaron Nielson argued in a response that the administration lacked “on-the-ground understanding” of the situation, noting crossings slowed down after the federal government withdrew.
“This case began when federal Border Patrol agents began cutting wire fences that, among other uses, helped channel individuals— unlawful migrants and U.S. citizens alike—to a lawful border crossing at a port of entry,” Nielson wrote. “Border Patrol began this practice of destroying Texas’s property, according to the district court’s findings, in order to ‘facilitate the surge of migrants into Eagle Pass,’ using boats to ‘literally usher’ people across illegally.”
The Biden administration later claimed Texas authorities had prevented border patrol from providing “emergency assistance” to three drowning migrants, though the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) court filing noted state authorities did not know about the migrants until after they died.
Texas sued the Biden administration in October for cutting the wire, which Republican Gov. Greg Abbott instructed local authorities to install to stem the increase in illegal crossings.
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