updated 6/15/2009 11:39:38 AM ET 2009-06-15T15:39:38

The Supreme Court on Monday refused to get involved in local Texas governments' fight against hundreds of miles of fencing along the U.S.-Mexico border.

The court rejected a challenge by El Paso and other counties to a lower court ruling dismissing a lawsuit against Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. The governments argue that Napolitano's predecessor, Michael Chertoff, improperly waived 37 federal laws that could have slowed or blocked construction of fencing along the border that is intended to deter illegal immigrants.

It is the second time the high court has turned away a legal challenge to the Homeland Security secretary's authority to speed construction of the fencing.

Congress authorized the fence to help secure the border and slow illegal immigration, and then gave Chertoff the power to waive the federal laws in 2005.

The case is County of El Paso v. Napolitano, 08-751.

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