A federal judge has ruled that Texas must relocate a large floating barrier on the bank of the Rio Grande amid protests from the U.S. and Mexican governments. The barrier, which is part of Governor Greg Abbott’s Operation Lone Star border security mission, was put in place earlier this year to deter migrants from crossing the southern border. However, U.S. District Judge David Ezra deemed it a violation of a treaty between the U.S. and Mexico and questioned its efficacy. The state has until September 15th to comply with the order.
Biden Administration Claims Victory
President Joe Biden’s administration filed a lawsuit against Texas over the barrier, and Judge Ezra’s ruling is considered a win for the administration. The judge criticized Texas for failing to present credible evidence that the buoy barrier effectively curbs illegal immigration across the Rio Grande River.
Texas Plans to Appeal
Texas Faces Legal Challenge Over Water Barrier on Border
The recent installation of buoys by Texas near the border town of Eagle Pass has sparked a legal battle with the U.S. Justice Department. Texas is accused of erecting a barrier on the international boundary without permission, resulting in swift action from the Biden administration, citing humanitarian and environmental concerns.
Eagle Pass, which falls within a Border Patrol sector experiencing the second-highest number of migrant crossings this fiscal year, has seen around 270,000 encounters. However, this figure is lower compared to the same period last year.
The Biden administration attributes the recent decline in illegal border crossings to new immigration rules that went into effect in May when pandemic-related asylum restrictions expired.
The introduction of these buoys by Texas is part of Governor Abbott’s multibillion-dollar border mission, known as Operation Lone Star, which aims to continue where former President Donald Trump left off. Plans for a similar water barrier were already in motion in 2020, as revealed by Mark Morgan, the acting commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection at the time.
Morgan shared that these plans were abandoned after President Biden assumed office. He referred to the barrier as a “water wall” and explained that it was meant to serve as a temporary solution in areas where fences had not yet been constructed or were deemed impractical.