Skip to content
Texas faces new deadline to remove controversial Rio Grande buoys

Texas authorities were ordered to remove the floating border wall from the Rio Grande by September 15, dealing a blow to Governor Greg Abbott, who quickly vowed to ‘take this fight all the way to the United States Supreme Court “.

The state also cannot install similar structures in the Rio Grande without prior approval, U.S. District Judge David Ezra wrote in his decision Wednesday.

The wrecking ball-sized buoys were installed in the river near Eagle Pass, Texas in July. The barriers have created a flurry of research online, with critics calling the roughly 1,000ft floating barrier inhumane.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a federal lawsuit in late July, accusing the Abbott administration of violating federal law by building the structure. Texas authorities have defended the floating wall, saying it was an attempt to secure the US-Mexico border from migrants and that the part of the river in question was too shallow for the law to pass. apply. Ezra disagreed with the defense, saying Texas violated the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 by not getting pre-approval for the barrier.

Workers maintain the blades between buoys placed along the Rio Grande border with Mexico to prevent migrants from entering the United States, August 25, 2023. Texas must remove border buoys by on September 15 and it is forbidden to install similar structures in the river. , according to a federal decision.

News week contacted Abbott representatives via email on Wednesday for comment.

Ezra criticized Abbott in his decision, saying the floating barriers were installed “without permission of any kind except the governor’s directive.”

In his ruling, the judge ruled that the buoys were placed in a navigable body of water and required a permit from the Army Corps of Engineers. Ezra further argued that the Texas authorities’ reasoning that the barrier is a defense following an “invasion” of migrants is “unconvincing.”

The floating barrier is part of a multi-billion dollar effort by Abbott’s administration, dubbed “Operation Lone Star” to secure the border against an influx of illegal border crossings, Abbott previously said. Other controversial methods used by the state to deter migrants include the barbed wire structures installed near Eagle Pass in July.

While Abbott said he was “not asking permission” for Operation Lone Star, saying he had “sovereign authority” over his state’s southern border, Ezra disagreed. In his ruling, the judge noted that this was explicitly what federal law required the state to do.

Ezra, appointed by former President Ronald Reagan, said the court was “supportive of the goal of reducing illegal immigration and the illegal importation of drugs,” but said Texas still had to comply with the law. federal law.

Shortly after the judgment, Abbott announced on X, formerly Twitter, that the state was considering an appeal. The Republican governor blamed President Joe Biden, saying Texas is “stepping up” to do the job Biden should have done.

“This decision is incorrect and will be reversed on appeal” Abbott said in the post. “We will continue to use all strategies to secure the border, including deploying soldiers from the Texas National Guard and soldiers from the Department of Public Safety and setting up strategic barriers.”

Update 9/6/23, 7:55 PM ET: This article has been updated with new information.

This is breaking news and will be updated.

USA News Gb2