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Judge orders Texas to remove Rio Grande barrier designed to deter migrants

The Justice Department filed a civil suit in July, arguing that the floating barrier violated the Rivers and Harbors Act, which prohibits the creation of any obstruction to the navigable capacity of the country’s waters without permission.

He also said the floating barrier “poses risks to public health and safety” by preventing travel through it and damaging relations between the United States and Mexico.

The Texas lawyers had countered that the US Constitution grants Texas the power to ‘repel invasions’, including the illegal entry of thousands of migrants, urging the court to conclude that the terms of the Rivers and Harbors Act did not apply.

The court on Wednesday sided with the Justice Department, finding that the barrier’s threat to human life and “impeding free and safe navigation” outweighed the interests of the State to install the system.

The Justice Department welcomed the court’s decision.

“We are pleased that the court ruled that the barrier was illegal and irreparably harmed diplomatic relations, public safety, navigation and the operations of federal agency agents in and around the Rio Grande,” Vanita said. Gupta, deputy attorney general of the Justice Department, in a statement. .

Texas attorneys appealed the ruling to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, while Abbott called the ruling “incorrect” and predicted it would be overturned.

“We will continue to use all strategies to secure the border, including the deployment of soldiers from the Texas National Guard and the Department of Public Safety and the installation of strategic barriers,” Abbott said in a statement. “Texas is ready to take this fight all the way to the United States Supreme Court.”

The floating barrier is part of Texas’ ongoing tussle with the Biden administration over immigration policy.

Abbott sent a letter to President Joe Biden in July accusing the administration of obstructing his state’s “sovereign interest” in securing its border. A month earlier, Abbott sent 42 migrants by bus to Los Angeles and accused Biden of not “doing his job and securing the border.”

In August, a 3-year-old child who was traveling on one of the Texas migrant buses died en route to Chicago. It is the first death announced by the state in connection with the bus transit program that sent more than 30,000 migrants to Democratic-controlled US cities, the Associated Press reported.