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Texas files response in concertina border barrier lawsuit with Supreme Court

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The state of Texas has filed a response with the U.S. Supreme Court to an appeal made by the Biden administration in a lawsuit filed over concertina wire barriers erected on Texas soil by officials working through Gov. Greg Abbott’s border security mission, Operation Lone Star.

The administration requested the Supreme Court vacate a current injunction imposed by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals blocking the administration from removing the barriers in the Eagle Pass area. The Biden administration is requesting the Supreme Court immediately allow federal agents to continue to destroy or remove the concertina wire barriers.

In October 2023, Texas sued the Biden administration after Border Patrol agents destroyed the barriers. They were erected in an area of Texas inundated by illegal border crossers resulting in Eagle Pass declaring a state of emergency. Abbott surged resources to the area and began installing additional barriers.

Because the federal government has abdicated its responsibility to secure the border and prevent illegal entry, Abbott maintains, he implemented OLS and several border security measures, including erecting a range of barriers along the Rio Grande River. In response to some of the OLS efforts, the Biden administration ordered the destruction of the concertina barriers and sued over the marine barriers.

Through many legal twists and turns, and as the case progresses before a federal district court, the Fifth Circuit last month handed Texas a win, issuing an administrative stay preventing the federal government from cutting, removing or destroying the wire, with few exceptions.

The administration appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court in an effort to circumvent the appellate process, Texas argues in its brief. The Fifth Circuit has already expedited the case and the administration “is attempting to switch legal theories midstream.”

Additionally, the administration is not denying that it destroyed Texas property, the brief notes. “Defendants seek emergency relief pending appeal without making any argument that they did not destroy Texas’s property, directly contrary to basic principles of Texas tort law,” it states. “That maximalist view of federal authority is not new: At every stage of this litigation – in the district court, in the Fifth Circuit, and now in this Court – Defendants have claimed authority to destroy property that belongs to someone else based on their assurance that doing so is necessary to enforce federal immigration laws. Yet Defendants all but ignore the district court’s factual findings demonstrating that the premise of their argument is wrong: ‘The evidence presented … amply demonstrates the utter failure of the Defendants to deter, prevent, and halt unlawful entry into the United States.’”

The administration argues the Fifth Circuit’s ruling was “manifestly wrong” because it “prohibits Border Patrol agents from cutting or moving Texas’s wire barriers that physically block agents from accessing the international border and reaching migrants who have already entered U.S. territory.”

Abbott has argued that the federal government isn’t enforcing federal immigration laws, necessitating the need for OLS. There are also 29 ports of entry where foreign nationals can attempt to legally enter Texas, Abbott argues, more than any other state in the U.S. Instead, the administration has been facilitating illegal entry between ports of entry and burdening local Texas communities, he argues.

Abbott also remains resolute, arguing Texas will continue to hold accountable the Biden administration “for attacking Texas’ sovereign authority and their attempts to obstruct our border security efforts.”

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