McALLEN, Texas (Border Report) — The State of Texas on Monday was granted a temporary restraining order that stops federal border agents from cutting razor wire the state has placed on the Rio Grande to stop illegal immigration from Mexico, according to documents filed in U.S. District Court.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on Friday filed a motion for a TRO on an emergency basis against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas in Del Rio, which granted the motion Monday.
The TRO request came the same week that the state filed a lawsuit against DHS for allegedly destroying state property and “undermining” the state’s border security efforts through Operation Lone Star.
But days after the lawsuit was filed on Tuesday, the alleged “federal agents escalated matters, trading bolt cutters for an industrial-strength telehandler forklift to dismantle Texas’s border fence,” according to the state’s TRO emergency request.
The state charges it’s a “brazen escalation,” and alleges that “repeated destruction of Texas’s concertina wire irreparably harms Texas because it facilitates increased illegal entry into the state.”
A DHS spokesperson told Border Report that the agency does not comment on pending litigation, but said “we will, of course, comply with the order issued by the court this morning.”
The DHS spokesperson added: “Generally speaking, Border Patrol agents have a responsibility under federal law to take those who have crossed onto U.S. soil without authorization into custody for processing, as well as to act when there are conditions that put our workforce or migrants at risk.”
The emergency order issued by the judge stipulated that the TRO does not apply to “any medical emergency that mostly likely results in serious bodily injury or death to a person, absent any boats or other life-saving apparatus available to avoid such medical emergencies prior to reaching the concertina wire barrier.”
Texas law enforcement has unspooled miles of concertina and razor wire along the banks of the Rio Grande in high-traffic areas, like Eagle Pass, and in the Rio Grande Valley.
The state also has put a 1,000-foot-long marine buoy barrier in the river in Eagle Pass to stop migrants from crossing from Piedras Negras.
The state has spent about $10 billion in two years on border security initiatives and recently received approval from the Texas Legislature for more funds to add additional border wall. Gov. Greg Abbott has repeatedly said that Texas is spending money and manpower to secure the border, charging President Joe Biden has shirked his duty to do so on the federal level.
Federal officials have reportedly cut razor and concertina wire in order to access the river’s banks and to walk large groups of migrants to processing locations.
“The federal government’s outrageous escalation in response to our lawsuit demonstrates Biden’s disturbing contempt for the State of Texas, for the citizens of the United States, and for our country’s entire foundation of the rule of law,” Paxton said in a statement Monday. “By acting quickly and monitoring their actions closely, we were able to secure a restraining order, and I am confident we will continue to prevail.”
Texas state Sen. Roland Gutierrez, D-San Antonio, who is running for U.S. Senate, said Monday’s TRO was not warranted.
“The United States should be able to remove the razor wire at the border unimpeded. Barbed wire and endless litigation are not solutions to our immigration issues. Women and children are dying at the border. Every day this razor wire is up, our Border Patrol agents are in even more danger,” Gutierrez said.
A hearing is set for Nov. 7 in federal court.
Sandra Sanchez can be reached at SSanchez@BorderReport.com.