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Texas pushes back, erects more wire barriers along Rio Grande River as federal lawsuit continues

Texas National Guard soldiers continue to erect concertina wire barriers along the Rio Grande River.

Published: December 9, 2023 11:20pm

(The Center Square) -

As Texas’ lawsuit continues against the federal government over its right to defend its border, Texas National Guard soldiers continue to erect concertina wire barriers along the Rio Grande River.

The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals recently handed Texas a temporary win in the lawsuit, staying its own court panel’s previous ruling, and blocking the federal government from taking down or destroying Texas’ barrier.

In October, Texas sued the Biden administration after Border Patrol agents began bulldozing concertina wire barriers on Texas soil to allow foreign nationals to illegally enter Texas between ports of entry. A district judge initially issued a temporary restraining order, blocking the federal government from destroying Texas’ concertina barriers, then reversed her ruling allowing them to do so.

Texas appealed and a Fifth Circuit panel of judges initially stayed the district court ruling until they heard the case. They then reversed course, siding with the district judge. Texas than appealed to the full Fifth Circuit, which recently issued a stay until the entire court could hear the case.

Gov. Greg Abbott has argued that Texas has a right to defend its sovereign border and is prepared to go all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. In the meantime, Abbott says, “Texas National Guard soldiers continue to install and reinforce razor wire barriers along the Texas-Mexico border. While [President Joe] Biden’s dereliction of duty at the border continues, Texas holds the line.”

This week in Brownsville, Texas National Guard Engineer Special Response Teams repaired existing concertina wire barriers damaged by illegal crossers and installed a new anti-climb barrier (ACB), which is a fence erected behind the concertina barrier.

The concertina barrier is in place along the riverbank close to the water to prevent illegal entry after someone swims or walks across the river, depending on the location. Some have thrown blankets, clothes or towels to climb over the concertina barrier. Others use wire clippers to cut pieces to tear down or to cut holes to climb through.

The ACB is comprised of connected 8-foot by 12-foot gates, reinforced by concertina wire, “to make it even more anti-climb,” Capt. Chris Daniel, SRT-1 officer in charge explained in a video published by the Texas Military Department.

“There’s a heavy amount of cutting” in the Brownsville area, he said. “We have bad actors that are coming, opening up the wire allowing traffic to move through as we lay more wire in. The ACB reinforcement with the c-wire will slow that down a little bit. They’re going to have to do a lot more cutting to get through the ACB. They absolutely can’t manipulate it or push it down by putting clothes on it. Climbing will be a very hard task for them to complete. We’re trying to create a barrier that’s going to allow” Operation Lone Star officers to intercept “bad actors, stop them from being able to manipulate these barriers,” he said.

OLS efforts continue after the Texas Legislature allocated over $11.5 billion towards border security efforts, including $1.5 billion recently allocated to continue building Texas’ first border wall.

They also continue after Texas has borne the brunt of illegal border crossings, with at least over 1.9 million people illegally entering Texas since President Joe Biden’s been in office, according to data first reported by The Center Square.

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