Texas Ordered To Remove Rio Grande Buoy Border Barrier By Federal Judge

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A federal judge on Wednesday ruled Texas has just over a week to remove a controversial array of floating barriers designed to prevent migrants from crossing the Rio Grande from Mexico and not install any more buoys on the river, after the Department of Justice sued Texas over the project and after a body was found in the barrier.

U.S. District Judge David Alan Ezra granted the federal government’s motion for a preliminary injunction in the case, ordering Texas remove the 1,000-foot buoy array by September 15, finding the barrier was installed “without authorization of any kind, save the Governor’s directive.”

The Department of Justice had sued Texas and Republican Gov. Greg Abbott in July, arguing the installment violated the federal Rivers and Harbors Appropriation Act and interfered with the “navigable capacity of any of the waters of the U.S.”

In his decision, Ezra ruled the floating barrier was installed in a navigable body of water and requires a permit from the Army Corps of Engineers, and argued that Texas officials’ claim that the barrier is a self-defense mechanism in the face of “invasion” is “unconvincing.”

Days before the DOJ filed its sued, Abbott said he would refuse to take down the buoys or a razor wire barricade attached to it, writing a letter to President Joe Biden slamming the White House for failing to uphold its “constitutional obligation to defend the States against invasion,” despite the DOJ threatening legal action over the buoys. The effort was Abbott’s latest jab at the Biden Administration, after Abbott joined a multi-state initiative to bus migrants from the Mexican border to Democratic-led cities, including New York, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., claiming the Biden Administration is failing to address a border crisis. Democrats have blasted Abbott over the program, with Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney calling the move “disgusting” and “purposefully cruel.”

Abbott announced the buoys along the border in June, after Texas’ Republican-controlled state legislature appropriated more than $5 million for border security—the Dallas Morning News reported the project cost just under $1 million. After they were installed, however, a body was found stuck in the barrier last month, though the cause of death of that person was unknown, according to the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Texas Department of Safety Director Steve McCraw told Forbes that information on the incident suggests the person “drowned upstream” and floated down.

DOJ Sues After Texas Governor Refuses To Remove Floating Border: ‘I’ll See You In Court, Mr. President’ (Forbes)

Texas Will Block Migrants In Rio Grande Using Wall Of Buoys, Gov. Abbott Says (Forbes)

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