Keep the Razor Wire Up on the Texas Border

There is a crisis at our southern border due to President Joe Biden’s failed leadership. Since President Trump left office, upwards of 6 million illegal immigrants have entered our country (a number greater than the population of most U.S. states), putting a tremendous strain on our institutions and our communities.

To protect his state from this invasion, Texas Governor Greg Abbott utilized the State Guard to construct wire barricades and other border security measures, particularly in “Eagle Pass,” a 29-mile stretch of land along the Texas-Mexico border at the “epicenter of the present migrant influx.” Shockingly, federal agents acting on behalf of the Biden Administration began cutting down these very barricades—which the court found had proven an effective deterrent and helped illegal crossings “drop precipitously.” By some eyewitness accounts, these same federal agents were even helping migrants get through the wire barricades with ropes and wire cutters.

Governor Abbott sued the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the U.S. Border Patrol, and others in the district court, seeking an injunction to stop the federal government from deconstructing Texas’ border security measures and aiding migrants in illegal entrance into our country. His claim was initially denied at the district court level on the grounds of sovereign immunity (a legal doctrine that holds the government cannot be sued unless it allows itself to be). However, on appeal, the Fifth Circuit reversed the district court’s decision. Writing for a divided court, Judge Kyle Duncan granted Texas’ request for an injunction (meaning “make the federal government stop their actions”) pending appeal, which enjoined (meaning “ordered”) the federal defendants from “damaging, destroying, or otherwise interfering” with Texas’ wire fencing unless it is absolutely necessary to do so in the case of a medical emergency.

But on Monday, the Supreme Court vacated that injunction, allowing the federal government to continue deconstructing all the wire fencing Texas put up to secure the border. The Court’s order was brief and offered no justifications or explanations, other than to note that this was a 5-4 decision—and that Justices Thomas, Alito, Gorsuch, and Kavanaugh would deny the application to vacate the judgment. Now, the case will return to the 5th Circuit for an en banc review (which is when all the judges on a circuit hear the case and come to a decision, as opposed to just three of the circuit judges) beginning in early February—and the case could very well make its way back to the Supreme Court.

Just two days after the Supreme Court’s order, Governor Abbott released a statement declaring that “the federal government has broken the compact between the United States and the States.” By failing to enforce Article IV of the Constitution’s charge that the federal government protect each state “against invasion,” the federal government has failed in its most sacred duty: protecting the safety and well-being of the American people. Governor Abbott cited Texas’ “sovereign interest in protecting” its border (found in Article I of the Constitution), and declared an invasion, so that he could invoke his state’s right to self-defense. Governor Abbott concluded his letter by declaring that he would continue to act to secure the Texas border, regardless of the Court’s order. Governor Abbott was quickly joined in a show of support by half of U.S. governors, including Governors Kristi Noem, Ron DeSantis, Kevin Stitt, Glenn Youngkin, and others.

Governor Abbott will find further support from the American Cornerstone Institute because his brave stance is exactly right. Since the Biden Administration took office, the federal government has continuously and intentionally violated its constitutional obligations to enforce federal law and protect our border. As this crisis has unfolded, President Biden has shown that he is more interested in using taxpayer money to bring more illegal immigrants into the country than stop anyone who tries to slow the flow of illegal immigration.  He has willfully refused to enforce laws already in place; it is a fallacy to believe he would enforce any new legislation.

There is also nothing “compassionate” about the Biden Administration’s facilitation of our border crisis. Illegal immigration empowers drug cartels and human traffickers, it fractures our communities, it strains our justice and public welfare systems, and it weakens our national security. President Biden has made a mockery of the oath he swore to faithfully execute the law and protect the American people. If he won’t do his job, Americans should find it heartening that leaders like Governor Abbott will.