Texas removes barbed wire at the border

EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – The Texas military has removed barbed wire along a stretch of the Rio Grande from downtown El Paso to the old Fort Bliss, designed to prevent illegal immigration from Mexico.

Border Report cameras on both sides captured a striking sight: several large piles of worn-out barbed wire on this mile-long stretch of river overlooking Juarez, Mexico. This visual evidence underscores the removal of the barbed wire.

It was not immediately clear why the barrier fell. There was no immediate response to emailed questions from Border Report to the Texas Department of Military Affairs, Texas Division of Emergency Management and Department of Public Safety about whether this represented a change in strategy, was related to maintenance or perhaps a harbinger of future events.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott tweeted photos two days ago of a welder working on a fence-like structure. “Texas National Guard soldiers are erecting barriers along the border in El Paso. Texas continues to use all possible strategies to deter and prevent illegal entry into our state,” Abbott told X on July 2.

In any case, the state's efforts to protect the border were still clearly visible on Friday.

DPS vehicles and unmarked pickup trucks were seen driving up and down the section of the border without barbed wire, which – before the barrier was built last year – was a popular abandonment point for migrants trying to turn themselves in to the U.S. Border Patrol and seek political asylum.

The barrier, erected last year, immediately reduced border crossings in the region, forcing people to walk several miles east to find a spot to cross the river. Abbott said he ordered its construction without the Biden administration effectively enforcing it. He later claimed that the state's efforts to curb illegal immigration had forced people to travel through other states.

The number of migrant encounters along the entire border has declined in recent months, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and had dropped sharply since early June, when the Biden administration threatened to allow asylum seekers crossing between ports of entry to cross the border if a threshold of 2,500 was reached in any one week.

Border Report camera crews filmed a lone migrant crossing the Rio Grande from Juarez to El Paso since the removal of the barbed wire fence.

Juan Carlos Lopez Morales, a spokesman for the Catholic Diocese of Juarez, expressed hope that the Texas ban would be lifted for good, but acknowledged that if it remains in place, it would encourage migrants to use that route to the United States again.

“This should not have happened. This is inhumane treatment of migrants,” Lopez said. “To take it away now: This should have happened from the beginning because it was not appropriate to treat migrants this way. Some will also see it as an easy way to cross the border. That will motivate more migrants to move toward this section of the U.S. border.”

Lopez underlined the complexity of the problem, saying that the movement of people across the US-Mexico border cannot be regulated simply by “building or tearing down barriers.” He stressed that comprehensive, clear and humane policies are needed in both Mexico and the US to regulate this movement.