The Department of Justice is threatening to sue Texas over “humanitarian concerns” if it does not remove the barriers, which were first put in place earlier this month.
“The floating barrier poses a risk to navigation, as well as public safety, in the Rio Grande River, and it presents humanitarian concerns,” the DOJ said, claiming that it was “unlawful” for Texas to install the barriers.
Governor Greg Abbott tweeted out that Texas would not be removing the barriers, adding that they would see the DOJ in court.
“Texas has the sovereign authority to defend our border, under the U.S. Constitution and the Texas Constitution,” Abbott tweeted. “We have sent the Biden Administration numerous letters detailing our authority, including the one I hand-delivered to President Biden earlier this year.”
“The tragic humanitarian crisis on the border was created because of Biden’s refusal to secure the border. His open border policies encourage migrants to risk their lives crossing illegally through the Rio Grande, instead of safely and legally over a bridge,” he added. “Texas is stepping up to address this crisis. We will continue to deploy every strategy to protect Texans and Americans — and the migrants risking their lives.”
The buoy barriers have been placed in the Rio Grande to deter illegal immigrants from attempting to cross into the U.S. near Eagle Pass.
The 4-foot-wide orange spherical buoys spin if someone tries to grab onto them, according to the New York Post. The barrier can be moved or extended if need be.
The effort is part of the state’s “Operation Lone Star,” which aims to combat the catastrophe unleashed on the state by President Joe Biden’s immigration policies.
Texas Republican Senator John Cornyn defended use of the buoys at a Friday news conference, saying Biden had failed to secure the border.
“Well, we wouldn’t be having this conversation if President Biden and the Department of Homeland Security were doing its job,” he said. “Some of the tactics that are being used at the border are desperation tactics because, frankly, the Biden administration is not doing its job. … I’m glad Governor Abbott’s willing to take the measures that he thinks is necessary.”
The owner of a canoe and kayak rental place has also filed a lawsuit after law enforcement began installing the barriers, claiming that they will cause him “imminent and irreparable harm.”