Federal judge declines Texas request to block immigration officials from cutting border fencing News
Federal judge declines Texas request to block immigration officials from cutting border fencing

Chief US District Judge Alia Moses rejected a motion for a preliminary injunction from Texas on Wednesday to block the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) from cutting wire fencing at the US-Mexico border. The case is in the US District Court for the Western District of Texas.

Texas sued in October to stop DHS officials from cutting the wire fence at the border. Moses initially blocked DHS officials from cutting the wire fence but allowed it to be cut in certain exigent circumstances. Moses observed that Texas had a high burden to show that DHS had “no colorable basis” to support its actions. After multiple hearings, Moses found that there was insufficient evidence to show that DHS cut the wire fence absent allowable exigent circumstances.  Moses also noted that DHS cutting the fence was not a final agency action.

Additionally, Moses ruled that DHS cannot cut the fence for inspection, apprehension, and processing reasons. In her ruling, Moses stated:

The evidence presented amply demonstrates the utter failure of the Defendants to deter, prevent, and halt unlawful entry into the United States. The Defendants cannot claim the statutory duties they are so obviously derelict in enforcing as excuses to puncture the Plaintiff’s attempts to shore up the Defendants’ failing system. Nor may they seek judicial blessing of practices that both directly contravene those same statutory obligations and require the destruction of the Plaintiff’s property. Any justifications resting on the Defendants’ illusory and life-threatening “inspection” and “apprehension” practices, or lack thereof, fail.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton announced that Texas appealed Moses’ decision. The appeal will go to the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Additionally, in response to the ruling, Paxton stated:

I am disappointed that the federal government’s blatant and disturbing efforts to subvert law and order at our State’s border with Mexico will be allowed to continue. Biden’s doctrine of open borders at any cost threatens the safety of our citizens, and we will continue to fight it every step of the way.

This is not the only litigation concerning Texas taking steps to block immigration into the state from Mexico. In September, a US federal appeals court ruled that Texas can leave a floating barrier in the Rio Grande. The floating barrier at issue in that case is a 1,000-foot-long system of buoys tethered via chains to concrete blocks placed on the riverbed of the Rio Grande along the US-Mexico border.