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Biden Administration Threatens to Sue Texas Over Floating Border Barrier

In March 2021 Texas launched ‘Operation Lone Star’ to establish state level immigration control on the Texas / Mexico border.
A woman surveys the preparation of a buoy barrier installation in Eagle Pass, Texas, on July 7, 2023. (Brandon Bell/Getty Images)
A woman surveys the preparation of a buoy barrier installation in Eagle Pass, Texas, on July 7, 2023. (Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) issued a stern warning to Texas officials on Thursday, threatening to file a lawsuit against the state if it does not remove recently erected border barriers situated in the middle of the Rio Grande. These barriers were put in place by Texas Governor Greg Abbott to deter illegal migrants from entering the country.

In a formal letter addressed to Governor Abbott and the state's attorney general, the Biden administration's Justice Department claimed that the floating barriers are in violation of federal law. The DOJ expressed concern that the barriers could obstruct the efforts of federal law enforcement, pose risks to public safety, inhibit navigation, and damage the environment.

Assistant Attorney General Todd Kim and U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Texas, Jaime Esparza, further stated in the letter that the construction of the floating barrier is a violation of the Rivers and Harbors Act.

The Justice Department granted Texas an opportunity to engage in discussions with the administration to find an alternative solution and avoid litigation. They have demanded a response from the state by Monday July 24.

Governor Abbott, who previously announced the installation of the floating barrier as part of his efforts to curtail illegal immigration, remained resolute in his stance. On Friday, he took to Twitter to reaffirm his commitment to safeguarding Texans, Americans, and the migrants risking their lives. Despite the warning from the Justice Department, Governor Abbott declared, "We will continue to deploy every strategy to protect our borders. We will see you in court, Mr. President."

The situation between Texas and the federal government over the U.S. border crisis has escalated, and both parties appear to be entrenched in their positions. The fate of the border barriers and their implications on immigration and the environment now rest on the response from Texas officials and the subsequent actions of the Justice Department.

Related Story: Mexico Files Complaint About Texas ‘Buoy Barrier,’ Says it Violates Boundary Laws

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