Critics bash SCOTUS decision allowing feds to cut razor Texas installed to stem illegal border crossings

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Critics are heaping scorn on a Supreme Court decision Monday allowing Border Patrol agents to cut razor wire that Texas had installed to stem the tide of illegal crossings. 

Texas had installed the roughly 30 miles of concertina wire along a stretch of the U.S.-Mexico border near Eagle Pass. The razor wire had been at the center of an escalating standoff between the Biden administration and the state over immigration enforcement.

FILE: A National Guard soldier stands guard on the banks of the Rio Grande at Shelby Park on January 12, 2024, in Eagle Pass, Texas.  ( (Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images))

The deciding vote was cast by Justice Roberts, while Justices Thomas, Alito, Gorsuch, and Kavanaugh were in the dissent. Justice Amy Coney Barrett, a Trump appointee, also sided with the majority. 

None of the justices provided an explanation for their 5-4 vote. 

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The Justice Department has argued the barrier impedes the U.S. government’s ability to patrol the border, including coming to the aid of migrants in need of help.

Gov. Abbott said the fight was “not over.” 

“Texas’ razor wire is an effective deterrent to the illegal crossings Biden encourages,” he said. “I will continue to defend Texas’ constitutional authority to secure the border and prevent the Biden Administration from destroying our property.” 

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick called the SCOTUS ruling “extremely disappointing and frustrating.” He singled out Chief Justice Roberts for siding “with the liberals on the Court on this import border issue.” 

“Our country is being invaded by millions, including terrorists, dangerous criminals, and smugglers bringing in fentanyl that kills Americans every day. Justice Roberts did not explain his vote.” 

Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina blamed the Biden administration’s policies for creating the “illegal immigration crisis.” 

“But this is beyond inaction,” he said. “President Biden is actively aiding and abetting the largest southern border invasion our country has ever seen.” 

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Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida questioned how there could be “a ‘border security deal’ with a Biden administration that just went all the way to the Supreme Court to stop border security?” 

During a Monday night appearance on the Ingraham Angle, Rubio called for an overhaul of the asylum process, saying it was being “abused.” 

“The laws have to be executed by the executive branch,” Rubio said. “The laws have not changed from the time Trump was president to the time Biden became president. What changed was the way the law was applied and executed.” 

Rep. Thomas Massie of Kentucky called on Congress to step in. 

“You know who could fix this – literally overrule the Supreme Court and the White House on the Texas v Biden dispute? Congress,” he said. “In fact, it was explained to a group of us by Justice Scalia during breakfast at the Capitol Hill Club. He told us to quit funding things we don’t like.” 

The Texas GOP, meanwhile, urged Texans to tell Gov. Abbott “to stand firm and the feds to come and cut it!” 

The White House has applauded the Supreme Court’s decision. White House spokesperson Angelo Fernández Hernández said the razor wire had “prevented frontline personnel from performing vital federal functions and interfered with their ability to address urgent humanitarian situations and enforce our laws.”

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“Texas’ political stunts, like placing razor wire near the border, simply make it harder and more dangerous for frontline personnel to do their jobs. Ultimately, we need adequate resources and policy changes to address our broken immigration system,” he said. 

brownsville, texas

Port officials using concertina wire to repel unlawful entries. (Texas DPS)

“That is why on his first day in office, President Biden presented Congress with a comprehensive immigration reform plan and that is why he is working to find a bipartisan agreement with Congress that includes additional resources and meaningful policy reforms.”

A DHS spokesperson said enforcing immigration is a federal responsibility. 

“Rather than helping to reduce irregular migration, the State of Texas has only made it harder for frontline personnel to do their jobs and to apply consequences under the law,” the spokesperson said. “We can enforce our laws and administer them safely, humanely, and in an orderly way.” 

But the Border Patrol Union rejected the Supreme Court decision. 

Gov. Abbott had authorized the wire as part of aggressive measures to curb illegal crossings from Mexico. A federal appeals court last month forced federal agents to stop cutting the concertina wire.

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The concertina wire stretches for roughly 30 miles near the border city of Eagle Pass, where earlier this month the Texas Military Department seized control of a city-owned park and began denying access to Border Patrol agents.

Eagle Park has become one of the busiest spots on the southern U.S. border for migrants illegally crossing from Mexico. Abbott has said Texas won’t allow Border Patrol agents into Shelby Park anymore, having expressed frustration over what he says are migrants illegally entering through Eagle Pass and then federal agents loading them onto buses.

Razor wire in Shelby Park, located in Eagle Pass, Texas

Texas authorities place razor wire in Shelby Park in Eagle Pass, defying a Biden administration order to end the state’s seizure of the area along the Rio Grande.  (Matt Finn)

Abbott also has authorized installing floating barriers in the Rio Grande near Eagle Pass and allowed troopers to arrest and jail thousands of migrants on trespassing charges. The administration also is challenging those actions in federal court.

In court papers, the administration said the wire impedes Border Patrol agents from reaching migrants as they cross the river and that, in any case, federal immigration law trumps Texas’ own efforts to stem the flow of migrants into the country.

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Texas officials have argued that federal agents cut the wire to help groups crossing illegally through the river before taking them in for processing.

Fox News’ Adam Shaw and The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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