January 11, 2024

Cassidy, Blackburn, Colleagues Introduce Bill to Empower States to Place Barriers Along the Southern Border

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA) and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and eight Senate Republicans today introduced the Creating Obstructions Necessary to Address Illegal and Nefarious Entry Rapidly (CONTAINER) Act to empower border states to place temporary barriers on federal land to protect their communities. Article I, Section 10 of the U.S. Constitution reserves the right of states to defend themselves. However, under current federal law, states may not place structures on federal land without first obtaining authorization from the federal government. 

“If governors and states are willing to step up where President Biden has failed, Congress needs to empower them,” said Dr. Cassidy. “Border states should be able to place physical barriers at their border with Mexico without waiting for a dilly-dallying administration to finally get around to maybe giving an answer, and the answer is always no.”

“Since President Biden took office, there have been over 8.5 million apprehensions at our southern border, turning every state into a border state,” said Senator Blackburn. “Meanwhile, his administration has only exacerbated the problem by trying to stop the use of measures that will secure our border like shipping containers and razor wire. Because Joe Biden refuses to do so, it’s clear Congress must act to give border states the explicit authority to protect their communities and the sovereignty of the United States.”

The CONTAINER Act authorizes border states to temporarily place movable, temporary structures on federal land for the purpose of securing the border without first seeking federal approval. It also allows states to keep these structures on federal land for up to a year, subject to 90-day extensions that can be approved by the Secretaries of Agriculture and the Interior.

Cassidy and Blackburn were joined in introducing the bill by U.S. Senators J.D. Vance (R-OH), Cindy Hyde Smith (R-MS), Pete Ricketts (R-NE), Ted Budd (R-NC), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Mike Braun (R-IN), Tim Scott (R-SC), and Ted Cruz (R-TX).  

“The Biden administration’s unwillingness or, worse, inability to do anything to stop the crisis at the border means states should have the right to take action to protect their citizens.  This reasonable legislation would ensure states, particularly those directly on the border, can erect barriers to deter the never-ending violation of our borders,” said Senator Hyde-Smith.

“The humanitarian and security crisis at our southern border demands urgent and swift action, including building more border wall. Yet the Biden administration has taken action against states that attempt to do that. This must stop. This bill will give states another tool to defend themselves against illegal immigration,” said Senator Ricketts.

“The crisis at the southern border is unlike anything we’ve ever seen. Instead of facing this situation head on, the Biden administration has taken states to court to block them from securing their own borders,” said Senator Budd. “That’s wrong, and its why Senator Blackburn’s bill is so critical. It empowers states to quickly place barriers to stop the illegal flow of drugs and dangerous individuals into the United States.”

“The Biden administration’s refusal to secure our southern border has forced states to combat the crisis on their own,”said Senator Cramer. “Instead of fixing its policy decisions, the administration sued states trying to stem the flow. In the face of an administration actively choosing disorder over their solemn duty to safeguard our territorial integrity, states should have the flexibility to take action when the federal government doesn’t.”


In 2022, Texas and Arizona began placing large shipping containers along parts of the southern border in an attempt to fill gaps in the incomplete border wall. Following a Biden Department of Justice lawsuit, Arizona removed these containers, but Texas has maintained its shipping containers along the border. Last week, the Biden administration asked the Supreme Court to allow U.S. Border Patrol to cut razor wire that is placed along the southern border in Texas, as the White House continues its assault on border states’ right to secure their communities.