WASHINGTON — A divided Supreme Court on Monday allowed Border Patrol agents to resume cutting for now razor wire that Texas installed along a stretch of the U.S.-Mexico border that is at the center of an escalating standoff between the Biden administration and the state over immigration enforcement.
The 5-4 vote clears the way for Border Patrol agents to cut or clear out concertina wire that Texas has put along the banks of the Rio Grande to deter migrants from entering the U.S. illegally. Some migrants have been injured by the sharp wire and 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.
None of the justices provided any explanation for their vote. The one-page order is a victory for the Biden administration while the lawsuit over the wire continues.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott had authorized the wire, one of a series of aggressive measures the three-term Republican has taken on the border in the name of curbing illegal crossings from Mexico. His spokesman said the absence of razor wire and other deterrents encourages migrants to risk unsafe crossings and makes the job of Texas border personnel more difficult.
“This case is ongoing, and Governor Abbott will continue fighting to defend Texas' property and its constitutional authority to secure the border,” Abbott spokesman Andrew Mahaleris said.