Immigration

DOJ sues Texas over floating barrier in Rio Grande

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott deployed inflatable buoys earlier this month in the Rio Grande to curb illegal border crossings.

DOJ sues Texas over floating barrier in Rio Grande
A floating barrier in the Rio Grande
Eric Gay/AP
SMS

The Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against Texas on Monday after the state refused to address its controversial border enforcement policy. 

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said on Monday that he wrote President Joe Biden to tell him he was willing to go to court over his state's actions.

At question is an inflatable barrier Texas installed in the Rio Grande earlier this month in an effort to curb illegal border crossings. 

‚ÄúThis floating barrier poses threats to navigation and public safety and presents humanitarian concerns.  Additionally, the presence of the floating barrier has prompted diplomatic protests by Mexico and risks damaging U.S. foreign policy," said Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta.

The Department of Justice informed the state of Texas last week that it did not receive proper authorization for the barriers, which the DOJ insists violate federal law. 

In the letter to Biden, Abbott contends that the marine barriers were deployed legally, noting that the U.S. Constitution gives Texas "sovereign authority to protect its borders."

DOJ: Rio Grande barrier violates law, raises humanitarian concerns
DOJ: Rio Grande barrier violates law, raises humanitarian concerns

DOJ: Rio Grande barrier violates law, raises humanitarian concerns

The buoy barrier was installed as a component of Governor Greg Abbott's $4 billion initiative, Operation Lone Star.

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Abbott goes on to blame Biden of refusing to enforce federal immigration laws. 

"The fact is, if you would just enforce the immigration laws Congress already has on the books, America would not be suffering from your record-breaking level of illegal immigration," Abbott states in his letter. 

The barrier at the center of the dispute is located near Eagle Pass. It was installed as part of the $4 billion Operation Lone Star initiative, a plan Abbott contends addresses illegal border crossing.

Despite Abbott's claim that Biden has an "open-border policy," there was a decline of encounters at the U.S.-Mexico border in June. U.S. Customs and Border Protection reported that there were about 144,000 apprehensions last month, the lowest figure since 2021.