The Department of Justice (DOJ) has announced its intent to sue Texas Governor Greg Abbott over the construction of a floating buoy border barrier aimed at curbing illegal immigration into the state. The DOJ cited several reasons for the impending legal action, including claims that the barrier violates federal law, poses humanitarian concerns, threatens public safety, and has potential environmental risks. The move immediately elicited a fiery response from Governor Abbott, who vehemently defended Texas’ right to protect its border amid what he perceives as a lack of leadership from the federal government.
In June, Governor Abbott revealed plans for the barrier, composed of orange buoys, to discourage migrants from attempting to cross the treacherous Rio Grande River. The initiative is part of Operation Lone Star, a comprehensive operation aimed at addressing the border crisis, which Republicans argue has been exacerbated by the federal government’s failure to act decisively.
However, both Mexico and the U.S. federal government, along with immigration activists, have strongly opposed the move, labeling it as illegal and inhumane. The DOJ, in its letter to Abbott, highlighted humanitarian concerns, potential risks to navigation and public safety in the river, and announced its intention to pursue legal action based on the Rivers and Harbors Act.
Texas officials, including Steve McCraw, the director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, have defended the barrier, arguing that it will deter migrants from crossing the dangerous river, ultimately protecting their lives. Despite such claims, the DOJ remains resolute in its stance against the barrier.
In response to the DOJ’s letter, Governor Abbott took to Twitter to reassert Texas’ sovereign authority to defend its border under the U.S. and Texas Constitutions. He has previously exchanged heated rhetoric with the Biden administration, accusing them of contributing to the migrant crisis through lax border policies.
In contrast, the White House contends that President Biden’s border plan, which employs deterrence, enforcement, and diplomacy, has led to a notable decline in unlawful border crossings. Assistant Press Secretary Abdullah Hasan accused Abbott of endangering migrants and border agents alike, stating that the governor’s actions are undermining the effective border enforcement strategy.
Meanwhile, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador condemned the barrier and even used it as a platform to interfere in U.S. elections. He urged Hispanics not to vote for Abbott or Republicans supporting stronger border measures.
As the DOJ sets a July 24 deadline for a response from Governor Abbott, tensions between the state of Texas and the federal government continue to escalate. The outcome of this legal battle could have far-reaching implications for the broader immigration debate and the balance of power between state and federal authorities on border issues.