Appeals court allows Republican states to sue Biden over border wall

 June 20, 2023

A federal appeals court has greenlit a lawsuit from Texas and Missouri that would force Joe Biden to continue building his predecessor's southern border wall.

The states argue that Biden is illegally diverting funds Congress already authorized for the wall, while leaving them to shoulder the burdens of increased illegal immigration.

Their case was dismissed by a district court last year, but a panel of the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has decided the case can proceed.

Border wall ruling

The states argue that Biden's refusal to build has increased the costs of illegal immigration, including expenditures on education, healthcare, and driver's licenses.

Writing for the panel, U.S. Circuit Judge Edith Jones said the states have standing to sue.

"Texas alleges (and the DHS has in the past affirmed) border barriers (i) reduce illegal entries in areas where constructed, and (ii) increase the rate at which illegal aliens are detected and apprehended,” she wrote.

While the border barriers "do not fully stem the tide," they "reduce Texas’s costs relative to a non-border wall policy," she continued.


Biden cancelled the border wall on day one of his administration, in a rebuke of his predecessor's tough immigration agenda.

Texas and Missouri sued in 2021 over Biden's decision to redirect $2.7 billion in congressionally authorized funding for the wall, but U.S. District Judge Micaela Alvarez, a George W. Bush appointee, shut the case down in August of last year.

The judge said that Missouri was too far from the border to claim harm and that Texas had improperly "split" the case between two agencies, but Judge Jones and Judge Jerry Smith, both Reagan appointees, saw things differently.

At an appeal hearing in December, Jones snapped at a Biden lawyer after they argued the administration was securing the border with cameras.

"You know what, that is so absurd. The facts on the ground [are] at least 3 million people have surged through the border in the last year and three-quarters with no end in sight,” she said.

Biden pivots?

Republicans have been fighting for years to force Biden to secure the southern border, which has been overrun by record numbers of illegal immigrants on his watch.

But as Biden pursues re-election, some Democrats have accused Biden of borrowing from Trump's immigration playbook to limit asylum.

The administration has crowed about a drop in border crossings since May, when it began implementing the new restrictions. It's unclear if the apparent lull will hold through the summer, which is historically a busy time for illegal immigration.

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