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Appeals court halts ruling that Border Patrol can legally cut Texas’ border concertina wire

By Uriel J. García, The Texas Tribune

Appeals court halts ruling that Border Patrol can legally cut Texas’ border concertina wire” was first published by The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them — about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.

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The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday temporarily halted a lower court order that gave Border Patrol agents legal cover to continue cutting concertina wire that Texas has installed on the banks of the Rio Grande.

U.S. District Judge Alia Moses of Del Rio on Wednesday ruled against Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office, which wanted the judge to order Border Patrol agents to stop cutting the wire. Moses said Texas didn’t provide enough evidence to show the federal government has violated the law, but she criticized the federal government’s immigration policy in general.

Paxton’s office appealed the order the following day, and on Monday the New Orleans-based appeals court issued a stay on Moses’ ruling and gave the Biden administration until Friday to respond.

“I am pleased the court recognized the extent of the federal government’s blatant and disturbing efforts to subvert law and order at our State’s border with Mexico,” Paxton said in a statement on Monday.

Paxton sued the Biden administration in October, claiming that Border Patrol agents illegally destroyed state property when its agents cut through the state’s concertina wire to “assist” migrants to “illegally cross” the border.

In court documents, the Biden administration has said that Border Patrol agents cut the wire to provide medical help to migrants in distress or when migrants have already crossed the Rio Grande into U.S. territory and must be apprehended.

Within the past three years, the Texas Military Department has spent $11 million to place 70,000 rolls of concertina wire in different parts of the Texas-Mexico border, most notably in Eagle Pass, where migrants have been seriously injured trying to get through the wire. About 29 miles of wire have been rolled out in Maverick County, which includes Eagle Pass.

This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at https://www.texastribune.org/2023/12/04/texas-border-concertina-wire-court-ruling-fifth-circuit/.

The Texas Tribune is a member-supported, nonpartisan newsroom informing and engaging Texans on state politics and policy. Learn more at texastribune.org.

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