At the US-Mexico Border
Members of the Texas Army National Guard extend razor wire to inhibit migrants from crossing, as seen from Ciudad Juárez. Reuters

TEXAS- A federal judge from Texas blocked on Thursday efforts by state authorities to prevent the Biden administration from removing razor wire fencing along its border with Mexico.

Concretely, district judge Alia Moses rejected the petition after concluding the state had not presented enough evidence to conclude that U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents cutting the wire had violated the law. State Attorney General Ken Paxton anticipated he will appeal the decision.

Moses, however, left the door open to being convinced otherwise, including in her ruling direct criticism of the Biden administration's migratory policies. "What follows here is but another chapter in this unfolding tragedy. The law may be on the side of the Defendants and compel a resolution in their favor today, but it does not excuse their culpable and duplicitous conduct," reads a paragraph of the ruling.

Texas and the Biden administration are at odds in their handling of immigration, with the former under the spotlight for setting up miles of the aforementioned barbed wire, as well as buoy barriers with blades along the Río Grande. Even though a judge initially blocked the setting of the buoys, saying they blocked navigation and ordered they be taken to the riverbank, another one granted a temporary stay after a state appeal.

Governor Greg Abbott
Texas Governor Greg Abbott VERONICA CARDENAS/Reuters

The measures are part of Texas' multi-billion dollar Operation Lone Star, which also includes the bussing of thousands of migrants arriving in the state to sanctuary cities ran by Democratic administrations. Some of these cities, especially New York and Chicago, have seen their shelter systems and budgets overwhelmed by the amount of people arriving and have taken steps to reduce the pressure.

The state also passed a bill in mid November empowering its authorities to arrest or deport migrants who are suspected of entering or re-entering the state illegally. It also allows judges to order migrants to return the country they illegally crossed from rather than seeking prosecution.

Moreover, the bill allows state agencies to transport the migrants to ports of entry to ensure the measure is effective.

Under SB4, a first-time offender could be convicted of a misdemeanor and be punished by up to 180 days behind bars. The penalty would jump to a felony punishable by up to two years in prison if the person has repeatedly entered the country illegally, according to the bill.

According to ABC News, the bill sparked fears among immigrant rights advocates about the possibility it will lead to widespread racial profiling and circumvention of protections asylum seekers have under constitutional law. The bill doesn't provide funding or requirement to train officers to enforce these new laws.

The bill is another attempt by lawmakers to empower Texas law enforcement officers to enforce immigration laws, despite rulings by federal courts that the federal government has sole jurisdiction over immigration matters.

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