June 16, 2024 6:24 am

Supreme Court allows agents to cut razor wire at Texas-Mexico border

The US Supreme Court has ruled that border patrol agents can remove razor wire that has been installed by Texas officials along the US-Mexico border.

The 5-4 ruling on Monday temporarily pauses a lower court’s ruling that forced the federal agents to stop cutting wire near Eagle Pass, Texas.

The fencing had been authorised by Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott.

The Biden White House requested that agents be allowed to continue cutting the wire, arguing it harms migrants.

Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Amy Coney Barrett joined the court’s three liberal justices to rule in favour of the White House request.

None of the judges offered an explanation for their votes.

Lawyers for the Biden administration say the wire restricts the ability of border agents to process migrants who have already arrived on US soil.

Mr Abbott’s government has also installed buoys along the Rio Grande river, as part of a larger effort to deter illegal migration known as Operation Lone Star.

The Biden administration is challenging the buoys in a separate federal case.

The roughly 30-mile (46-km) razor fence has been criticised by Mexican officials as a violation of international law. Migrants have been known to bypass the wire, swimming and climbing under it, often getting injured in the process.

The Eagle Pass area, where the fencing and buoys are located, has seen about 270,000 migrant detentions this fiscal year.

Operation Lone Star also includes sending migrants in buses to Democratic-run cities.

Last year, Texas sued the federal government after Border Patrol agents cut through portions of the fencing, arguing that they were unable to reach the border they police.

It has been seen as a major escalation in the legal battles over immigration between Joe Biden, a Democrat, and Mr Abbott.

The federal government has failed to prevent unlawful entry into the United States, Texas argues. In their court filing for the razor wire case, they say that areas like Eagle Pass are at the “epicenter of this crisis”.

Earlier this month, Texas officials seized a park along the border and declared that federal agents were banned from accessing it.

Last week, Texas ignored a demand from the Department of Homeland Security to resume federal access to the park, which is used by agents to patrol the border.

The Department of Homeland Security said two children and one woman drowned in the Rio Grande River this month after Border Patrol agents were “were physically barred by Texas officials from entering the area”.

The Texas Military Department disputed the statement, and said it had found no evidence of migrants in distress.

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