The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of Texas this week amid an ongoing battle over the state’s ability to construct a floating barrier along the Rio Grande. The river barrier fight is part of a wider concern among Republicans and much of the general public regarding President Joe Biden’s approach to the border and the increasing flow of illegal immigrants into the country.
The court vacated an earlier decision that mandated Texas remove the floating barriers. Texas installed the devices following a sharp increase in attempted border crossings after Biden came to office in 2021. The Biden administration challenged the state’s ability to construct the barrier, arguing that the responsibility fell solely to the federal government.
The appeals court made the decision to overturn the 2-1 court panel ordering the removal. This is the second victory for the state by the court. The Fifth Circuit earlier allowed the barrier to remain in place while it considered the case.
However, the case is likely not finished. Despite the circuit court’s decision, it is likely that the Biden administration will appeal the decision to the United States Supreme Court.
The border concern also comes as multiple elected representatives expressed concern about the Biden administration’s efforts to force migrants who entered the country illegally to stay in Texas.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) wrote on social media that the Biden administration’s efforts to blame Texas for any fatalities along the river were “clearly wrong.” He cited a federal judge’s ruling that stated that Biden and the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) policies “create a perverse incentive” for increasing migrant crossing attempts.
“Biden is to blame for the crossings,” he said.
Biden was clearly wrong to blame Texas for deaths in the Rio Grande.@KenPaxtonTX has receipts to prove it.
As a federal judge already ruled, Biden & DHS "create a perverse incentive" for migrants to make dangerous illegal crossings.
Biden is to blame for drownings. pic.twitter.com/17KoAheUNj
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) January 17, 2024
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) separately wrote that the state has seen “no evidence” that migrants who drowned in the Rio Grande had arrived at the Texas shore.
Paxton said that the president had been “warned in a series of letters, one of them hand-delivered to him in El Paso, that his sustained dereliction of duty in securing the border is illegal.”
He added that the Biden administration’s approaches did not address the state’s requests, but instead were met by a “threatening letter through its lawyers.”