A U.S. appeals court temporarily halted an Austin court’s order requiring Gov. Greg Abbott (R-TX) to dismantle a 1,000-foot barrier of floating buoys in the Rio Grande river.
The floating array of cylinders with circumferences up to six feet were placed near the middle of the river to discourage crossing into the state illegally and reduce trafficking of drugs and children.
Abbott claims the float is needed to protect state residents from a “transnational criminal-cartel invasion” fueled by failure by federal officials to enforce existing immigration law.
State attorneys note the floating barrier has been so effective that it has nearly eliminated illegal crossings in the areas where the floats are deployed.
A three-member panel of New Orleans-based Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals sided with Abbott, ruling Texas may keep the barrier in its current position while legal proceedings continue.
The floating barrier, consisting of rotating buoys measuring between four-to-six feet each was deployed near Eagle Pass in July, according to a report from The Epoch Times.
The Biden administration’s Department of Justice took swift action against Abbott, filing a July lawsuit against Texas. DOJ lawyers claim the barrier interfered with navigation and was set up without the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ approval.
The administration also expressed concern the buoys might strain U.S.-Mexico relations and potentially breach federal laws and agreements with Mexico.
This order to maintain the barrier comes after U.S. District Court Judge David Ezra’s September 6 order to move it close to the Texas bank of the river by Sept. 15,
“Texas’s 1,000-foot long, four-foot-wide floating barrier, anchored with metal wiring to heavy concrete blocks on the bed of the river, constitutes an obstruction to navigation of the Rio Grande,” explained Ezra.
“The Court finds that the barrier’s threat to human life, its impairment to free and safe navigation, and its contraindication to the balance of priorities Congress struck in the RHA outweigh Texas’s interest in implementing its buoy barrier in the Rio Grande River,” added the Austin judge.
Lawyers for the Lone Star State countered by emphasizing the ongoing immigration crisis and Texas’ right to defend itself against sophisticated heavily-armed drug cartels.
“The United States failed to defend Texas’s borders, leading to millions of individuals and hundreds of millions of fatal doses of fentanyl, often trafficked by transnational criminal cartels, illegally entering Texas and the US.”
Abbott declared determination to challenge President Joe Biden’s border policies.
“Our battle to defend Texas’s sovereign authority to protect lives from the chaos caused by President Biden’s open border policies has only begun. Texas is prepared to take this fight all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.”