McALLEN, Texas – October 31, 2023
In a recent development at the U.S.-Mexico border, a federal judge has issued a temporary restraining order instructing Border Patrol agents not to disturb the razor wire installed by Texas, with one key exception – it may only be cut to provide emergency medical assistance to migrants who have been injured while crossing the Rio Grande into Texas. This ruling marks a significant moment in the ongoing legal battle over the use of razor wire along the border.
U.S. District Judge Alia Moses signed the restraining order, which permits federal agents to cut the wire solely for the purpose of offering emergency medical aid to migrants. Some of these individuals have suffered lacerations or injuries from the razor wire after their perilous journey across the Rio Grande. However, the judge has determined that, for the time being, the razor wire barriers must remain intact as the legal dispute surrounding their use progresses.
The legal dispute commenced when the state of Texas initiated a lawsuit against the Biden administration for the removal of barbed wire in Eagle Pass, a site where a substantial number of migrants crossed in late September. This surge in crossings overwhelmed federal processing resources and humanitarian aid capacity. Texas Governor Greg Abbott, a Republican, has been at the forefront of this border security initiative.
In response to the court’s decision, Governor Abbott expressed his approval, stating, “Another win for Texas & our historic border mission.” The specifics of the lawsuit and the order have not been disclosed.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) spokespersons refrained from commenting on the ongoing litigation but emphasized their commitment to complying with the court’s order. They underscored the responsibility of Border Patrol agents to detain unauthorized individuals who have entered U.S. soil and to act when conditions pose risks to migrants or the workforce.
It is worth emphasizing that Judge Moses’ directive explicitly addresses the presence of razor wire in Eagle Pass. Nevertheless, members of the Texas National Guard have also deployed similar wire barriers in other heavily traversed areas along the border, including Brownsville and El Paso.
The utilization of razor wire is a component of Governor Abbott’s broader border security strategy, known as “Operation Lone Star.” This initiative is aimed at deterring migrants from entering Texas from Mexico and directing those who do cross toward designated ports of entry. Unfortunately, individuals of all age groups, including children, have suffered injuries and cuts as a result of coming into contact with the razor wire.
Governor Abbott has made Eagle Pass the epicenter of his border mission, which has extended the limits of immigration enforcement. Over the past couple of years, Texas has implemented various measures, such as deploying barriers in international waters, unauthorized island demolition, and the transportation of numerous migrants to cities governed by Democratic officials throughout the United States.
In his latest action, Governor Abbott is advocating for legislation that would grant all Texas law enforcement the authority to detain migrants and issue orders for their removal from the country, a proposal currently being advanced by Republicans in the state legislature.
Texas contends that the actions of the federal government undermine its border security endeavors. The state outlined in its lawsuit the thousands of migrants who have entered the country illegally through Eagle Pass.
The temporary restraining order will remain in effect until November 13, with a hearing on the matter scheduled for the upcoming week, adding a new chapter to the ongoing debate concerning border security measures.