This question is related to Gov. Abbott's order to have the Texas National Guard install 18 miles of razor wire between Texas and New Mexico. Based on:

The general question is: How does this not violate the interstate commerce clause of the Constitution? Namely the Gibbons vs Ogden decision:

"Commerce among the states cannot stop at the external boundary of each state, but may be introduced into the interior."

Seems like building miles concertina wire along the border would violate this.

1 Answer 1


If it interferes with interstate commerce, it would be illegal

But, there’s no evidence that it does.

There is no general right to walk across privately or publicly owned land whether that’s at a state border or not. In a broad sense, the fact that people can’t cross the border just anywhere might interfere with interstate commerce in some nebulous way, but that’s not the criteria.

If they were string razor wire across roads or railroads that were actually carrying interstate commerce, that would be different.

  • Sure, that seems like a fair interpretation. I think the nebulous part as a disincentive is what bothers me. Yet the technically legal issue that they're not blocking roads/rails/rivers is probably what the judges would rule toward.
    – G. Putnam
    Nov 9, 2023 at 21:24
  • @G.Putnam in order to have standing to challenge, someone would have to be able to point to some specific interstate commères and say, “that was interfered with and this is the harm I suffered”
    – Dale M
    Nov 9, 2023 at 23:20
  • Hmm, thanks for the clarification. So it also gets to "having standing" and if you cannot point to a specific interference, then no standing. Other than the word "interfered" that's a pretty good legal "tell it to me like I'm 5". If someone could say "you're concertina wire has interfered with my interstate business with specific identifiable harms", then there might be a case.
    – G. Putnam
    Nov 10, 2023 at 0:00
  • @G.Putnam doesn't have to be in the past - if you can show it might in the future you have standing.
    – Dale M
    Nov 10, 2023 at 0:34
  • I guess that's what I'm confused about then. 18 miles requires crossing over HW 28, HW 136, HW 183, HW 273, HW 319, and possibly HW 186 and HW 226. I'd think somebody in El Paso, Sunland Park, Santa Teresa, La Union, or Chamberino would be able to say "this razor wire causes an issue with our cross border customers." That, or I guess the immigrants just walk to Sunland Park and HW 273 and cross over.
    – G. Putnam
    Nov 10, 2023 at 20:55

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