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

After the Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against Texas for the project, and a body had been found inside the barrier, a federal judge ruled that Texas only has a little over a week left to remove the controversial array of floating obstacles designed to prevent migrants crossing the Rio Grande River from Mexico.

U.S. District Court Judge David Alan Ezra granted a federal government motion for a preliminarily injunction, ordering Texas to remove the 1,000-foot array of buoys by September 15. The judge found that the barrier had been installed “without any authorization, except the Governor’s Directive.”

The Department of Justice sued Texas and Republican Governor. Greg Abbott argued in July that the installation violated the federal Rivers and Harbors Appropriations Act and interfered “with the navigable capacity of any waters of the U.S.”

Ezra’s decision stated that the floating barrier had been installed on a navigable water body and required a permit by the Army Corps of Engineers. He also argued that Texas officials claim that the barrier was a self defense mechanism against an “invasion” in Texas is “unconvincing.”

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Abbott, days before the DOJ sued, said he wouldn’t remove the buoys, or the razor wire barricade that was attached. He wrote a letter to Joe Biden, slamming President Biden for not upholding the White House’s “constitutional duty to defend the States from invasion,” despite DOJ threatening to sue over the buoys. Abbott was taking a jab at Biden’s administration after he joined a multistate initiative to transport migrants from the Mexican Border to Democratic cities, such as New York, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C., alleging that the Biden Administration fails to address a crisis on the border. Democrats have condemned Abbott’s program. Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney called 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. The Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs reported that a body had been found in the barrier after they were installed. However, the cause of death of the person who died was not known. According to Forbes, Texas Department of Safety director Steve McCraw said that the information about the incident suggested the person “drowned downstream” and floated back up.