Hearing Held for Floating Barrier Case

Texas Defends Floating Barrier at Hearing

(RepublicanPress.org) – In June, Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R) announced his plans to deploy a “water-based barrier of buoys” starting at Maverick County’s Eagle Pass in the Rio Grande. The buoys have one purpose: to keep illegal immigrants from crossing into the Lone Star State. But many are calling the barrier inhumane, calling for their removal as at least two bodies have been found near the floating barricade. In July, several Democratic members of Congress sent a letter to President Joe Biden, urging him to take legal action against Abbott and have the barriers removed for safety reasons. Soon after, the Department of Justice (DOJ) filed suit against Texas, alleging the buoys violated federal law. Attorneys for both sides recently presented arguments.

Reactions to the Suit

Just before the DOJ filed its lawsuit against the state, Abbott penned a letter to Biden, alerting him to the impending legal action. The governor criticized the president for failing to enforce current immigration laws, stating that shortcomings left him no choice but to take drastic measures to quell the influx of people.

Abbott said he also has humanitarian concerns, urging Biden to enforce laws already on the books so migrants can come over the bridge instead of through the water. In the meantime, the Texas leader insisted he was well within his constitutional rights to keep the buoys in the water — despite the inherent danger to those looking for refuge in the US.

The Hearing

The DOJ argued that the buoys’ placement violates the Rivers and Harbors Appropriation Act, which requires anyone placing structures in navigable US waters to request a permit first. According to the department, Texas did not ask for permission from the US Army Corps of Engineers to place the floating barrier. If the state had gone through the proper channels, the DOJ said the federal government would have had the opportunity to assess the move’s potential safety risks and impact on the environment.

The Justice Department recently called Mexico’s top diplomat to testify at the hearing. He said it’s “essential to remove the buoys,” as they are in Mexican territory. Texas denied that the buoys were floating in Mexico, but Abbott is moving them just in case. Still, lawyers for the state claim the barriers are necessary to deter migrants.

US District Judge David Ezra will hear closing arguments soon, but it’s unclear how long it will take him to come to a decision on the lawsuit.

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