– Texas defies the federal state with its anti-immigrant barrier
Texas believes it is protecting its “sovereign” interests by installing a floating barrier on the Rio Grande to prevent migrant passage.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Monday challenged the Justice Department, which again filed a lawsuit against his state over a floating barrier on the Rio Grande meant to prevent migrant crossings from Mexico.
The department told Texas last week that these large orange buoys near Eagle Pass were blocking passage on the river and lacked federal permits. “This floating barrier poses a risk to navigation as well as public safety on the Rio Grande,” the ministry said, also citing “humanitarian concerns.”
In a letter to Democratic President Joe Biden on Monday, the Republican governor claimed he had the power to protect Texas’ “sovereign” interests by installing the buoys and accused Joe Biden of failing his own responsibilities regarding illegal immigration.
“If you truly value human life, start enforcing federal immigration laws,” he wrote. “By doing this, you can help me prevent migrants from risking their lives in the waters of the Rio Grande,” he added, concluding, “Texas is giving you a court date, Mr. President.”
A Biden administration official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Republicans were “playing political games.” For several years, elected officials on the right have been outraged by the arrival of illegal immigrants, which they describe as an invasion. Donald Trump and his main rival for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, have both placed the idea of an out-of-control border at the heart of their campaigns.
But the Biden administration counters that the number of illegal crossings has dropped since new asylum rules were introduced. “Republican officials don’t want a solution. They want chaos,” the official said.
The buoys were installed on the Rio Grande this month, as was barbed wire on the coast. According to press reports, migrants were caught in this fence and had to be rescued. A leaked Border Patrol document also said barbed wire placed by state agents disrupted its operations.
Hours after the publication of Greg Abbott’s letter, the Department of Justice filed a complaint against Texas and its governor. He says in the text that Texas had to get a permit before placing a structure on the Rio Grande, and asks the court to order the southern state to remove it.
“We must all recognize that there are laws and policies in place — both domestic and international — to ensure the safety of everyone who works, lives or travels along the river. These laws cannot be ignored,” Austin federal prosecutor Jaime Esparza said in a statement.
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