The Supreme Court Monday lifted a lower-court injunction preventing Border Patrol agents from removing barriers erected by the Texas National Guard along the Rio Grande to obstruct illegal immigrants. The court’s liberals were joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justice Amy Coney Barrett in the 5–4 decision to issue the order. The news that Barrett cast the deciding vote provoked ire from conservatives, who have soured on the replacement for the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
The Fifth Circuit had issued the injunction while Texas’s suit against the federal government over agents tampering with barriers, including cutting razor wire. The solicitor general alleged that the barriers prevented agents from doing their jobs. Greg Abbott, the Lone Star State’s Republican governor, posted on X, formerly Twitter, “This is not over.”
The order comes in the midst of congressional negotiations about tougher border security measures as part of broader haggling over the federal budget.
The ongoing dispute between Texas and the federal government has fueled conservative pessimism about the Biden administration’s good-faith commitment to any sort of improved border enforcement.
“How can there be a ‘border security deal’ with a Biden Administration that just went all the way to the Supreme Court to stop border security?” tweeted Florida’s Sen. Marco Rubio, a Republican, on Monday afternoon.
Criticism has focused particularly on Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas.
“Although President Biden is ultimately responsible for our country’s illegal migration mess, removing Mayorkas, an extreme open-border ideologue, is an indispensable first step in addressing the crisis,” wrote Phillip Linderman, a fellow at the Center for Immigration Studies and former American diplomat, in a January 8 article for The American Conservative.