Texas Governor Greg Abbott Faces Lawsuit Over Controversial Floating Barrier at Southern Border

The Department of Justice has filed a lawsuit against the state of Texas and Governor Greg Abbott over the construction of a floating barrier at the southern border.[0] The barrier, consisting of buoys in the Rio Grande River, is intended to deter migrants from crossing into the United States.[1] However, the Biden administration argues that it poses threats to public safety and the environment.

The lawsuit marks the latest development in an ongoing battle between Republican states and the federal government over border security and immigration.[0] Governor Abbott, a vocal critic of President Joe Biden, had previously invited the legal challenge in a letter to the president, stating that Texas would see him in court.[2]

In response to the lawsuit, Abbott took to Twitter to defend the state's actions and assert its constitutional right to secure the border. He blamed the Biden administration for the increased arrivals at the border and accused them of creating a humanitarian disaster with their open border policies.[2]

The Department of Justice argues that the floating barrier violates federal law and raises concerns about navigation, public safety, and humanitarian issues.[3] It also notes that the presence of the barrier has prompted diplomatic protests from Mexico and risks damaging US foreign policy.[3]

Abbott's border policies, known as Operation Lone Star, include the installation of the floating barriers and a new razor wire fence in the area.[4] The buoys, which are 4 feet in diameter and look like large orange balls, have caused injuries to migrants, including children, who have arrived in the US with lacerations and open wounds.

The DOJ's lawsuit alleges that Texas violated the Rivers and Harbors Act by obstructing navigable waters of the US.[5] The department had previously sent a letter to Abbott threatening legal action if the barriers were not removed.[6] The letter argued that the state's actions endangered public safety and could obstruct the federal government's official duties.[1]

The lawsuit also highlights a complaint from a Texas state trooper who raised concerns about the tactics used by law enforcement.[7] The trooper alleged that officers were ordered to push migrants back into the water, even if they were children, and to withhold water from them.[1] The trooper described an incident where a woman got stuck in the razor wire and had a miscarriage, which he and his team had to rescue.[7]

The legal battle between Texas and the federal government over the floating barriers is part of a broader conflict surrounding immigration and border security. Republican states have clashed with the Biden administration over its immigration policies, while the administration has argued that increased funding for the Department of Homeland Security and comprehensive immigration reform are necessary to address the broken immigration system.

As the lawsuit unfolds, it remains to be seen how the court will rule on the legality of Texas' floating barrier and the broader implications for border security and immigration policy. The outcome of this case could have significant ramifications for the ongoing debate over immigration and the balance of power between states and the federal government.

0. “The DOJ is taking legal action over razer wire-topped floating border wall in Texas” NPR, 24 Jul. 2023, https://www.npr.org/2023/07/24/1189831506/the-doj-is-taking-legal-action-over-razer-wire-topped-floating-border-wall-in-te

1. “Abbott invites legal fight over Texas' anti-migrant obstacle course” MSNBC, 24 Jul. 2023, https://www.msnbc.com/the-reidout/reidout-blog/abbott-floating-barriers-texas-doj-border-rcna96029

2. “Photos: Battle grows over buoys, razor wire on US-Mexico border” Al Jazeera English, 24 Jul. 2023, https://www.aljazeera.com/gallery/2023/7/24/photos-battle-grows-over-buoys-razor-wire-on-us-mexico-border

3. “Justice department sues Texas over floating barrier in Rio Grande river” BBC, 24 Jul. 2023, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-66296989

4. “Texas Governor Refuses To Remove Floating Border: ‘I’ll See You In Court, Mr. President’” Forbes, 24 Jul. 2023, https://www.forbes.com/sites/maryroeloffs/2023/07/24/texas-governor-refuses-to-remove-floating-border-ill-see-you-in-court-mr-president/

5. “Texas Gov Abbott swipes Biden in latest war of words over border security, impending DOJ lawsuit” Fox News, 24 Jul. 2023, https://www.foxnews.com/politics/texas-gov-abbott-swipes-biden-latest-war-words-border-security-impending-doj-lawsuit

6. “Feds file lawsuit against Texas over floating barriers in the Rio Grande” NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth, 25 Jul. 2023, https://www.nbcdfw.com/news/local/texas-news/feds-file-lawsuit-against-texas-over-floating-barriers-in-the-rio-grande/3302042/

7. “Rep. Tony Gonzales, who represents 800 miles of U.S.-Mexico border, calls border tactics “not acceptable”” CBS News, 23 Jul. 2023, https://www.cbsnews.com/news/tony-gonzales-texas-rio-grande-buoys-razor-wire-greg-abbott-face-the-nation/