US judge orders Texas to move barrier on Rio Grande

HISTORY: A US judge has ordered Texas to remove giant floating buoys installed in the middle of the Rio Grande.

The 1,000-foot barrier was designed to prevent migrants from crossing the US-Mexico border.

U.S. District Court Judge David Ezra ruled Wednesday that the buoys currently located near the town of Eagle Pass must be moved to an embankment on the Texas side of the river by September 15.

The ruling is a provisional victory for President Joe Biden, whose administration is suing the state, arguing that the buoys and heavy concrete anchors that hold them in place disrupt shipping and were installed without federal approval.

It’s also a setback for Texas Gov. Greg Abbot, who has campaigned vigorously for the barrier and claims Biden has been too lenient on border security.

Texas immediately appealed the verdict, and Abbott’s office agreed to take the case to the Supreme Court if necessary.

In a statement, the governor’s office said, “Our fight to defend Texas’ sovereign authority to protect lives from the chaos caused by President Biden’s open borders policy has only just begun.”

The US Attorney General, meanwhile, was satisfied with Ezra’s verdict.

Abbott’s anti-immigration initiatives came under renewed scrutiny in July after an internal email emerged from police officers claiming Texas authorities had been ordered to push migrant children back into the river and to deny water to migrants in extreme heat.

A body was found in the buoys weeks later.

The Texas Department of Public Safety said the victim appeared to have slipped into the barrier after drowning.

In a diplomatic letter to the US in June, Mexico argued that the barrier violated a water treaty between the two nations and potentially encroached on Mexican territory.

In his ruling, Ezra cited the strain the buoys were putting on US-Mexico relations, arguing that if the barrier stays in place, relations could continue to deteriorate.

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