Texas Ordered to Remove Floating Barriers

(ConservativeSense.com) – A US District Court Judge has ordered Texas to relocate a barrier made of floating buoys and a net installed by the state government in the Rio Grande River to deter migrants from attempting to cross the dangerous waters into the US illegally.

The preliminary injunction was issued by Judge David Ezra in Austin, and it requires Texas to find a new spot for the buoys, which were also found to be mostly in Mexican waters and located near Eagle Pass, Texas. The state has to move it to an embankment on their side of the river as the Justice Department argues that the barrier disrupts navigation and was installed illegally.

In July, Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott decided to install a barrier in the middle of the Rio Grande, separating the Lone Star State from Mexico. The barrier is composed of buoys and includes a giant net dipping 1,000 feet into the river so no one can swim underneath. The effort to cull illegal immigration is part of a wider operation by the state called Operation Lone Star.

The federal government immediately sued Texas over the barrier, claiming that the state “flouted federal law” by putting the barrier in the river without required federal authorization,” according to Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta. She said the barrier is a threat “to navigation and public safety,” presents humanitarian concerns, and puts U.S. foreign relations with Mexico at risk. Early in August, a body was found along the buoy barrier. Abbott downplayed the incident, citing the number of migrants dying trying to illegally cross the river that he’s trying to deter from happening, which he said is a more pressing issue. The judge noted in the 42-page injunction that although Abbott said he would not ask “for permission” to conduct Operation Lone Star, permission is exactly what federal law requires.”

The state can still appealed the injunctions, and has received a temporary stay on the order. Abbott may ultimately find favor with the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which leans conservative.

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