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Judge orders federal agents to stop cutting Texas razor wire for now at busy Mexico border crossing

McALLEN, Texas (AP) — A federal judge Monday ordered Border Patrol agents not to interfere with razor wire that Texas installed at a busy crossing for migrants on the U.S.-Mexico border, ruling that the barrier can only be cut to provide aid during medical emergencies.

The temporary restraining order signed by U.S. District Judge Alia Moses allows federal agents to cut the wire in order to “provide emergency medical aid” to migrants, some of whom were gashed or snagged by the wire after crossing the Rio Grande seeking to enter Texas. But Moses otherwise ruled that the barriers should remain intact for now as a court case over the barrier moves forward.

The state last week sued the Biden administration over the destruction of razor wire in Eagle Pass, where thousands crossed in late September outpacing federal processing resources and humanitarian aid.

“Another win for Texas & our historic border mission,” Abbott posted on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Spokespersons for U.S. Customs and Border Protection said they do not comment on pending litigation but will comply with the order. “Border Patrol agents have a responsibility under federal law to take those who have crossed onto U.S. soil without authorization into custody for processing, as well as to act when there are conditions that put our workforce or migrants at risk," the agency said in a statement.

The order by Moses only specifically mentions wire installed in Eagle Pass. Texas National Guard members have also installed wire barriers at other sections of the border where crossings are high, including Brownsville and El Paso.

The razor wire is part of Abbott's sprawling border security mission, known as Operation Lone Star, which seeks to both deter migrants from entering from Mexico and funnel those who do cross to ports of entry. Migrants of all ages, including children, have received lacerations and injuries from their contact with the wire.

Abbott has turned Eagle Pass into the epicenter of his border mission that has pushed the boundaries of immigration enforcement. Over the past two years, Texas has put floating barriers on international waters, razed islands without federal authorization and bused thousands of migrants to cities led by Democrats across the U.S.

He is now seeking to give all Texas police the authority to arrest migrants and order them to leave the country under legislation that Republicans are moving through the state legislature.

Texas contends the federal government is “undermining” their border security efforts by cutting the razor wire. In the lawsuit, the state pointed out that thousands of migrants have entered into the country illegally in Eagle Pass.

The order takes effect until Nov. 13. A hearing in the case is set for next week.