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Proposed GOP measure would block federal government from removing border fencing

Senator J.D. Vance is the latest Republican legislator to propose a bill that would block the federal government from removing border fencing installed by a state. The move came after the Supreme Court ruled the Biden administration can dismantle state-erected barriers along the southern border. File Photo by Aaron Josefczyk/UPI
Senator J.D. Vance is the latest Republican legislator to propose a bill that would block the federal government from removing border fencing installed by a state. The move came after the Supreme Court ruled the Biden administration can dismantle state-erected barriers along the southern border. File Photo by Aaron Josefczyk/UPI

Jan. 25 (UPI) -- Sen. J.D. Vance, R-Ohio, introduced a bill Thursday that would block the federal government from removing fencing along the southern border.

The proposed legislation would prevent federal agents from dismantling barbed wire or other fencing erected by state governments within 25 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border.

Vance introduced the bill days after the U.S. Supreme Court sided with President Joe Biden in 5-4 ruling allowing his administration to remove razor wire that the Texas government erected along the southern border to deter migrants.

"The Supreme Court gave Joe Biden a green light to cut down barriers put in place by the state of Texas," Vance said in a statement. "My bill would codify the right of every state along the U.S.-Mexico border to defend its own territory. If Joe Biden refuses to take action, let the states get the job done."

The bill gives an exception to protective fencing "constructed with the intention of facilitating, rather than deterring, illegal immigration," and would allow the attorney general to intervene if there is "clear evidence" that a state installed protective fencing with the intention of facilitating illegal immigration.

Members of the Operation Lone Star work to block migrants from illegally entering Texas in 2023 near El Paso. Sen. J.D. Vance, R-Ohio, introduced a bill Thursday that would block the federal government from removing fencing along the southern border.

File Photo by Mark Otte/Texas Army National Guard/UPI
Members of the Operation Lone Star work to block migrants from illegally entering Texas in 2023 near El Paso. Sen. J.D. Vance, R-Ohio, introduced a bill Thursday that would block the federal government from removing fencing along the southern border. File Photo by Mark Otte/Texas Army National Guard/UPI

Rep. Mike Collins, R-Ga., introduced a similar bill Wednesday, titled The Restricting Administration Zealots from Obliging Raiders (RAZOR) Act, which also would prohibit the federal government from removing state-erected fencing.

Texas has installed miles of concertina wire along the southern border as part of Operation Lone Star, which Gov. Greg Abbot launched in March 2021, but the Biden administration has been removing the barriers, arguing they hinder the federal government's ability to manage the border.

Abbott argued the razor wire is an "effective deterrent to the illegal crossings Biden encourages," and said he would "continue to defend Texas' constitutional authority to secure the border and prevent the Biden Admin from destroying our property."