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23 Jan, 2024 21:22

US Supreme Court allows Biden to dismantle Texas border fence

Texas Governor Greg Abbott has vowed to defy the ruling
US Supreme Court allows Biden to dismantle Texas border fence

The US Supreme Court has authorized federal agents to remove razor wire barricades installed along the Mexican border by Texas Governor Greg Abbott. Amid record numbers of illegal border crossings, Republicans argue that President Joe Biden is “actively aiding and abetting” an “invasion.”

In a 5-4 decision on Monday, the court granted an emergency appeal by the Biden administration and ruled that Abbott must allow federal authorities access to the border. Though nominally conservative, Justices Amy Coney Barrett and John Roberts sided with their three liberal colleagues to grant the appeal. None of the justices explained their decision in writing.

Abbott moved Texas National Guard troops to the border in 2021 and installed around 30 miles of razor-sharp concertina wire at the popular crossing spot of Eagle Pass. When Biden’s Department of Homeland Security ordered Border Patrol agents to begin cutting the wire last year, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton sued the Biden administration, accusing the agents of damaging state property in order to “assist” migrants to “illegally cross” the border.

The Biden administration argued that an unfavourable decision would allow “state-law regimes” to supplant federal immigration law and hamper federal agents’ ability to “quickly respond to emergency situations” along the border.

Republicans reacted to the Supreme Court’s decision with outrage. “This is beyond inaction,” South Carolina Senator Tim Scott wrote on X (formerly Twitter) on Monday evening. “President Biden is actively aiding and abetting the largest southern border invasion our country has ever seen.”

”This is not over,” Abbott tweeted, adding that he “will continue to defend Texas’ constitutional authority to secure the border and prevent the Biden Admin from destroying our property.” In a series of follow-up posts to social media on Tuesday, Abbott said that more concertina wire would be installed, and that the national guard would remain in place.

More than 300,000 migrants crossed the US-Mexico border in December, CBS News reported earlier this month, citing government data. This figure represents a record monthly high and eclipses the previous record set in September. At least 7.5 million people – more than the population of the state of Arizona – have entered the US illegally since Biden took office in 2021, according to US Customs and Border Protection data.

Under Biden’s policy of ‘catch and release’, illegal immigrants are apprehended, detained, and then released into the US with orders to show up at court hearings at a later date. As of December, there is a backlog of more than 3.2 million such cases, and newly arriving immigrants can sometimes expect to wait a decade for their case to be heard, the Associated Press reported last summer.