The U.S. Department of Justice has told Texas that the floating barriers along the Rio Grande violate the law, and it plans to take legal action against the state for deploying them.
The inflatable buoys that were deployed earlier this month are part of Governor Greg Abbott's efforts to curb illegal border crossings, but the DOJ says the state did not receive proper authorization for them and that the buoys violate federal law, raise humanitarian concerns, and present serious risks to public safety and the environment.
"The floating barrier at issue here is a structure that obstructs the navigable capacity of the Rio Grande River, which is a navigable water of the United States within the meaning of the Rivers and Harbors Act. Texas does not have authorization from the Corps to install the floating barrier and did not seek such authorization before doing so," Assistant Attorney General Todd Kim and U.S. Attorney Jaime Esparza wrote in a letter. "Texas’s unauthorized construction of the floating barrier is a prima facie violation of the Rivers and Harbors Act."
The buoy barrier near Eagle Pass, Texas, that spans approximately 1,000 feet across the Rio Grande, was installed as a component of Abbott's $4 billion initiative,Operation Lone Star. A plan that he says aims to address immigration concerns and involves the transportation of migrants to Democratic-led cities and the arrest of migrants on trespassing charges.
However, data from Customs and Border Protection shows a decline in encounters at the U.S. and Mexico border. Specifically, in June, CBP recorded 144,571 apprehensions, marking the lowest figure since February 2021.
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