Federal judge extends order preventing feds from destroying Texas border barrier
By Bethany Blankley
The Center Square
A federal judge on Thursday extended her initial temporary restraining order by another two weeks, blocking the Biden administration from destroying Texas’ concertina wire barrier along the Rio Grande River.
U.S. District Judge Alia Moses in Del Rio, Texas, extended her original Oct. 30th Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) beyond the initial Nov. 13 deadline. The extension is for another 14 days “to allow the court more time to fully consider the parties’ arguments and evidence.”
The TRO includes the city and vicinity of Eagle, Pass, Texas.
Moses also called for a second in-person preliminary injunction hearing to be held and for the parties to provide briefs and present legal definitions about multiple enforcement terms and to provide the court with communications, including emails from March 6, 2021, through Nov. 9, 2023, about the barriers, “specifically the concertina wire barriers, along the Texas-Mexico border.”
She ordered the parties to “provide the court any and all documents including but not limited to reports and emails, among United States Border Patrol, especially the Del Rio Sector agents, regarding or referencing the Plaintiff’s concertina wire barriers or other barriers located in Maverick County, Texas, as well as any and all documents which regard or reference impediments to said agents’ performance as a result of the barriers.”
Her second ruling was delivered two days after the first hearing was held on Nov. 7 in a lawsuit brought by the state of Texas and the Texas Public Policy Foundation.
Her first ruling came nearly one week after Texas sued the Biden administration over Border Patrol agents cutting concertina wire barriers on Texas soil. Moses granted Texas’ request and issued a TRO, blocking the federal government from cutting the fencing.
Gov. Greg Abbott praised her ruling as “another win for Texas and our historic border mission. [President Joe] Biden created this crisis and has tried to block us at every turn. Attorney General [Ken] Paxton and I are pushing back.”
Texas and TPPF sued the Biden administration Oct. 24 in U.S. District Court, Western District of Texas Del Rio Division. However, “in response to our lawsuit,” the Department of Homeland Security “has doubled down using a forklift tractor to dismantle the Texas razor wire barrier allowing 310 people to enter illegally,” TPPF General Counsel Robert Henneke said in a social media post, including a picture of a federal agent using a forklift to remove the wire.
Texas and TPPF then filed an immediate TRO motion, which was granted, after “federal agents escalated their destruction of Texas’s barrier” and the federal government “renewed [its] effort to destroy Texas’s barrier and assist aliens’ entry into the country ... just days after Texas filed its lawsuit,” according to their brief.
The lawsuit was filed after Eagle Pass officials declared a state of emergency in response to thousands of foreign nationals illegally entering Texas from Mexico in a few days, creating a humanitarian and public health and safety crisis. In response, Abbott surged Operation Lone Star border security resources to block illegal entry, including expanding installation of concertina wire.
The Biden administration then ordered Border Patrol agents to cut, and even bulldoze, Texas’ concertina wire along the Rio Grande River.
The lawsuit alleges, “federal agents have developed and implemented a policy, pattern, or practice of destroying Texas’s concertina wire to encourage and assist thousands of aliens to illegally cross the Rio Grande and enter Texas.” Border Patrol agents also “attach ropes or cables from the back of pickup trucks to ease aliens’ ability to illegally climb up the riverbank into Texas, … regularly cut new openings in the wire fence, sometimes immediately after Texas officers have placed new wire to plug up gaps in fencing barriers.
“By cutting Texas’s concertina wire, the federal government has not only illegally destroyed property owned by the State of Texas; it has also disrupted the State’s border security efforts, leaving gaps in Texas’s border barriers and damaging Texas’s ability to effectively deter illegal entry into its territory.”
The Biden administration has sued Texas over its marine barriers and is prepared to challenge Texas on that case and this one all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.