Texas floatable border faces legal hurdles

EAGLE PASS, Texas (NewsNation) — Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s plans to install a buoy barrier in the Rio Grande at the Mexico border may be in jeopardy.

A lawsuit was filed right after the buoys arrived on the banks of the river in Eagle Pass last Friday.

State officials had claimed that the buoys will help deter migrants from making the dangerous journey across the river and illegally entering the United States.

The lawsuit claims the governor doesn’t have the authority to do this, and Carlos E. Flores, the attorney who brought the suit, said they will challenge Abbott’s authority.

Flores has argued that the new marine barrier will hurt his client’s local kayak and canoe tour guide business.

“If the buoys are there he’s not going to be able to do tours in that area. People might not want to do tours in that area,” Flores said.

On Friday, Texas DPS tweeted images of the massive orange buoys, announcing their arrival and that installation of the barrier was beginning. Officials had planned to build 1,000 feet of marine barrier in the river.

“What you see here is another iteration — another tool — the Texas military can deploy quickly right at the river to deter from even risking themselves from coming across,” Texas DPS Director Steven McCraw said.

Every day, migrants cross or try to cross the river to get into the States. However, the journey is no small feat and many people have died attempting to cross.

Last week, officials said four migrants, including a baby, drowned. And last year, a Texas National Guardsman died while trying to rescue a woman struggling in the river.

“It’s dangerous. Family units cross the river. We don’t want people getting hurt,” McCraw said. “We want to prevent people from getting hurt, prevent people from drowning.”

The buoys are mobile and will be 4 to 6 feet tall depending on the depth of the water and will have netting underneath. The whole project will cost Texans about $1 million.

Texas has also put up other physical barriers like wire and the wall to try to stop illegal entry.

Abbott responded to the lawsuit, saying that Texas has a constitutional right to secure the border.

“We will see you in court,” Abbott tweeted. “And don’t think the Travis Co. Court will be the end of it. This is going to the Supreme Court.”

Flores said it’s now up to the courts to decide.

“This is about one Texan who has the right to have his governor follow the law when he is going to be impacted by a policy or decision. Here, the governor has decided to install the buoys despite not having the authority to do that,” Flores said.

Texas DPS said the first set of buoys should be in place by midweek. However, it will take several weeks for the first 1,000 feet of the barrier to get installed.

A hearing for this lawsuit has not been set yet. But, when it is, that is when the judge will decide on whether construction on the barrier stops or continues.

The International Boundary and Water Commission, which enforces boundary treaties, told NewsNation affiliate BorderReport that it was “caught by surprise” and that it is studying the plan and its potential impacts on the treaties between the U.S. and Mexico regarding border delineation.

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