In a bold move, the Texas National Guard has proceeded with the installation of razor wire along the Texas-Mexico border, defying the recent Supreme Court ruling.
The Supreme Court, siding with the Biden administration, ruled on Monday that Border Patrol agents could remove the razor wire. However, members of the Texas National Guard were seen assembling the wire in Eagle Pass, Texas, following the ruling.
Republican Representative Clay Higgins has urged Texas to “stand their ground,” echoing sentiments that the federal government’s actions could be leading towards a civil conflict.
The razor wire, part of Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s Operation Lone Star, was initially installed to curb illegal immigration, spanning approximately 30 miles near Eagle Pass. The initiative also included busing thousands of migrants to Democratic-led cities and arresting migrants on trespassing charges.
The Biden administration opposed the wire, arguing that it hindered Border Patrol agents in their duties and contravened federal immigration laws. The Supreme Court’s decision, with a narrow 5-4 majority, reflected the complexity of federal-state relations. The majority comprised Chief Justice John Roberts, Justice Amy Coney Barrett, and the court’s three liberal justices, while Justices Thomas, Alito, Gorsuch, and Kavanaugh dissented.
Brandon Judd, President of the National Border Patrol Council, criticized the ruling, fearing it would encourage more illegal immigration and overburden Border Patrol agents. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton had previously sued the Biden administration for allegedly destroying state property by cutting through the wire.
The Supreme Court’s order overruled a previous decision by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, which had prevented Border Patrol agents from removing the wire. The concertina wire had restricted access to parts of the Rio Grande and became a symbol of Texas’ independent stance on illegal immigration.
Governor Abbott’s approach contrasts with President Biden’s, with the Governor implementing state-level initiatives like deploying state law enforcement resources and building barriers on certain border areas. Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick’s statement last month underscored this approach, saying, “We’re going to put [migrants] on planes, trains, buses… we’re going to get them out of Texas.”
Upon taking office in 2021, Biden sought to reverse many of the strict immigration policies of his predecessor, Donald Trump. This included halting the construction of the border wall and proposing more lenient immigration policies. These changes were often criticized by Governor Abbott and other Republicans who argued that they would lead to increased illegal immigration and border insecurity.
In response to what he perceived as the federal government’s inadequate handling of the border situation, Governor Abbott launched several initiatives. This included deploying state law enforcement and National Guard troops to the border, and later, initiating a state-funded project to continue building the border wall in Texas.
The disagreements between Abbott and Biden have also led to legal confrontations. Texas has been involved in multiple lawsuits challenging the Biden administration’s immigration policies.
Both Abbott and Biden have used strong rhetoric when discussing the border. Abbott has accused the Biden administration of neglecting border security and exacerbating a humanitarian crisis. Meanwhile, Biden and his officials have criticized Texas’ unilateral actions at the border, suggesting they undermine federal immigration policy.
“We are using every tool that can be used, from building a border wall to building these border barriers to passing this law that I signed that led to another lawsuit by the Biden administration where I signed a law making it illegal for somebody to enter Texas from another country,” Abbot said in early January.
“And so– and they’re subject to arrest and subject to deportation. And so, we are deploying every tool and strategy that we possibly can. The only thing that we’re not doing is we’re not shooting people who come across the border because, of course, the Biden administration would charge us with murder.”