The justices, by a 5-4 vote, granted an emergency appeal from the Biden administration, which has been in an escalating standoff at the border with Texas and had objected to an appellate ruling in favor of the state.
It comes after outrage when three migrants drowned at the Texas border after agents were “barred” from rescuing them.
The concertina wire along roughly 30 miles (48 kilometers) of the Rio Grande near the border city of Eagle Pass is part of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s broader fight with the administration over immigration enforcement.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said in a post on X on Monday: “The Supreme Court’s temporary order allows Biden to continue his illegal effort to aid the foreign invasion of America.
“The destruction of Texas’s border barriers will not help enforce the law or keep American citizens safe. This fight is not over, and I look forward to defending our state’s sovereignty.”
Abbott also has authorized installing floating barriers in the Rio Grande near Eagle Pass and allowed troopers to arrest and jail thousands of migrants on trespassing charges. The administration also is challenging those actions in federal court.
A federal appeals court last month forced federal agents to stop cutting the concertina wire. Large numbers of migrants have crossed at Eagle Pass in recent months.
In court papers, the administration said the wire impedes Border Patrol agents from reaching migrants as they cross the river and that, in any case, federal immigration law trumps Texas’ own efforts to stem the flow of migrants into the country.
Texas officials have argued that federal agents cut the wire to help groups crossing illegally through the river before taking them in for processing.
This followed an incident in which three migrants drowned while trying to cross the Rio Grande at Eagle Pass in Texas earlier this month.
Border Patrol agents had been “physically barred” from entering the area to save the migrants during the incident, according to the Department of Homeland Security.
Texas has challenged claims that Border Patrol agents were denied access.