Attorney General Ken Paxton Files Response with SCOTUS Opposing Biden Administration’s Effort to Resume Destruction of Texas Border Barriers
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has filed a response to the Biden Administration’s request that the Supreme Court of the United States (“SCOTUS”) vacate a current injunction that protects Texas concertina wire barriers near the United States-Mexico border from being destroyed by federal agents.
In October 2023, Attorney General Paxton sued the Biden Administration for destroying concertina wire fencing that Texas had deployed to reduce the record-breaking influx of illegal immigration. Texas quickly secured an emergency restraining order from a federal judge that ordered federal agents to cease doing so. Although the federal judge found the Administration’s actions likely unlawful, she declined to grant the State’s requested relief. Attorney General Paxton successfully appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and quickly obtained an administrative stay and, subsequently, an injunction pending appeal to prevent the federal government from continuing its destruction of Texas property while the court considered the matter further.
In a bid to circumvent the typical appellate process, the Biden Administration requested SCOTUS immediately allow federal agents to resume destruction of the concertina wire barriers placed by Texas law enforcement. Attorney General Paxton has responded to the application, highlighting that the Fifth Circuit has already expedited the case and that the federal government is attempting to switch legal theories midstream.
The filing additionally explains: “Defendants seek emergency relief pending appeal without making any argument that they did not destroy Texas’s property, directly contrary to basic principles of Texas tort law. That maximalist view of federal authority is not new: At every stage of this litigation—in the district court, in the Fifth Circuit, and now in this Court—Defendants have claimed authority to destroy property that belongs to someone else based on their assurance that doing so is necessary to enforce federal immigration laws. Yet Defendants all but ignore the district court’s factual findings demonstrating that the premise of their argument is wrong: ‘The evidence presented … amply demonstrates the utter failure of the Defendants to deter, prevent, and halt unlawful entry into the United States.’”
To read the filing, click here.
Texas borders Mexico for more than 1,200 miles. Every day, thousands of people— both U.S. citizens and otherwise—cross this border. Many such border crossings are lawful; indeed, the United States has created official ports of entry. Many people, however, ignore those entry ports and instead enter Texas where they are not authorized to do so. Entry at unauthorized places often involves extensive trespassing on private property and can be dangerous, for instance when it requires traversing rivers or deserts. Following multiple hearings, the district court here found that the number of border crossings into Texas at unauthorized places has exploded. The “number of Border Patrol encounters with migrants illegally entering the country has swelled from a comparatively paltry 458,000 in 2020 to 1.7 million in 2021 and 2.4 million in 2022”—with Border Patrol “on track to meet or exceed those numbers in 2023.” Unfortunately, “organized criminal organizations take advantage of these large numbers,” and “conveying all those people to the doorstep of the United States has become an incredibly lucrative enterprise for the major Mexican drug cartels.” Id. Indeed, trafficking across the southern border has metastasized “from a scattered network of freelance ‘coyotes’ to a multi-billion-dollar international business controlled by organized crime, including some of Mexico’s most violent drug cartels.” Miriam Jordan
These cartels, which “have increasingly acquired a transnational dimension,” are now the FIFTH largest employer in Mexico. Rafael PrietoCuriel Reducing Cartel Recruitment Is the Only Way to Lower Violence in Mexico, 381 SCIENCE 1312 (2023). And “the infrastructure built by the cartels for human cargo can also be used to ship illegal substances, namely fentanyl.” App.26a. “Lethal in small doses, fentanyl is a leading cause of death for young Americans and is frequently encountered in vast quantities at the border.” Id.
Ask yourself why the Biden administration is assisting the cartels by destroying the techniques deployed to protect our states border? It makes no sense.