Jan 2, 2024 - Politics & Policy

DOJ urges U.S. Supreme Court to let Border Patrol cut Texas' razor wire

Immigrants walk through razor wire surrounding a makeshift migrant camp after crossing the border from Mexico in May last year in El Paso, Texas. Photo: John Moore/Getty Images

The Biden administration asked the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday to permit Border Patrol agents to cut razor wire at the U.S. border with Mexico that Texas officials constructed to prevent migrant crossings.

The big picture: The Justice Department's filing of an emergency motion is the latest turn in a legal stoush between the Biden administration and officials in the Republican-led state, which follows an appeals court last month temporarily blocking the removal of the wire.

Driving the news: Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar asked the justices to pause the recent ruling, saying Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas has "the power and duty to control and guard the boundaries" and borders of the U.S.

  • "Texas's barriers in Eagle Pass impede agents' ability to apprehend and inspect migrants under federal law," Prelogar argues.

What they're saying: Texas Gov. Greg Abbott responded to the filing on Tuesday in a post to X saying: "See you in court."

  • He added that "Americans & courts will reject Biden's hostility to immigration laws" and that Texas "will continue to deploy National Guard to build border barriers & repel illegal immigrants."

Zoom out: Texas officials installed miles of barriers using barbed wire and buoys along the Rio Grande near Eagle Pass in response to record numbers of migrants arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border last year.

  • The Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against Texas over the barriers last year and state officials are suing the Biden administration in an attempt to stop agents from removing them.
  • Representatives for the Biden and Abbott administrations did not immediately respond to Axios' request for comment.

Go deeper: Biden administration says official border crossings are reopening this week

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