Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) announced this week that his state was suing the Biden administration over a disagreement about a barrier along the U.S.-Mexico border. Texas’ lawsuit stems from the federal government cutting razor wire along the border intending to keep out migrants.
The Lone Star State accused the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) of cutting or otherwise damaging concertina wire set along the border.
“By cutting Texas’s concertina wire, the federal government has not only illegally destroyed property owned by the State of Texas; it has also disrupted the State’s border security efforts, leaving gaps in Texas’s border barriers and damaging Texas’s ability to effectively deter illegal entry into its territory,” Paxton’s lawsuit reads.
BREAKING: Today, I filed a lawsuit against the Biden Administration regarding their cutting razor wire at the border. Texas is and will continue to be America's greatest backstop to the failures of the federal government. https://t.co/rfzJWYqYxH
— Attorney General Ken Paxton (@KenPaxtonTX) October 24, 2023
The case is currently in the hands of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas.
Paxton wrote that the Biden White House’s effort was an “ongoing, unlawful practice” that undermined Texas’ “border security efforts.” The attorney general argued that the federal government took the action “without statutory authority and in violation of both state and federal law.”
The suit stems from the wire being added near Eagle Pass, Texas during the state’s wider efforts to curb illegal immigration. The number of migrants attempting to enter the country has increased significantly since President Joe Biden took office in 2021.
Footage shared by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) appeared to show members of the Border Patrol cutting the wire, which allowed for migrants to cross into the United States. Abbott ordered the wire to be put back in place.
National Border Patrol Council Vice President Art Del Cueto said that federal law means that individuals who enter the United States must “be taken into custody, that barbed wire is in the United States, it’s already inland.”
The DHS declined to comment on the lawsuit, overall but said that generally, “Border Patrol agents have a responsibility under federal law to take those who have crossed onto U.S. soil without authorization into custody for processing, as well as to act when there are conditions that put our workforce or migrants at risk.”
The border protection efforts come as part of Abbott’s wider Operation Lone Star, which has resulted in the detention of thousands of attempted border crossers and has resulted in a significant number of felony arrests.