A judge orders Texas to remove a floating barrier

September 7, 2023
Rio Grande river

Unfortunately for Texas, permission is exactly what federal law requires …

United States District Court Judge David Ezra in a preliminary injunction ordering Texas to relocate a floating barrier in the Rio Grande between Texas and Mexico by September 15.

Why It Matters: The court ruling favors the federal government vs. the state government in this specific issue of border security. Questions remain on how higher courts will rule or whether this case will wind up in the Supreme Court.

Background: In early July, Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R) began setting up an approx. 1,000-foot bright orange floating barrier on the Rio Grande.

The buoys, which are connected to anchors in the riverbed, were installed as a means of deterring border crossings between Mexico and Texas.

Encounters at the U.S. border have hit historic highs over the last several years; the Texas border remains a major point of entry for those crossing the border illegally, without legal status or permission to be in America.

In late July, the Department of Justice warned Gov. Abbott he had until the following week to remove the floating barriers or face legal action, saying the methods used on the border were "unlawful" and presented "humanitarian concerns."

Later in July, Gov. Abbott affirmed his decision to keep the buoys in place, and a press release from his office argued that "the U.S. Constitution grants Texas sovereign authority to protect its borders because the President refuses to enforce federal immigration laws." The same day, the state was sued by the DOJ.

  • The Big Picture: On Wednesday, Texas was ordered to relocate the large floating barrier from the Rio Grande to the riverbank by September 15th. Ezra says Texas produced no "credible evidence that the buoy barrier as installed has significantly curtailed illegal immigration across the Rio Grande River." The Biden Administration argues that the barrier disrupts navigation illegally, and was installed without the permission of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
  • Gov. Abbott's "office immediately appealed Ezra's ruling to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, saying in a statement it 'is prepared to take this fight all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court'" (The Texas Tribune).

Read More:

A judge orders Texas to move a floating barrier that's used to deter migrants between US and Mexico

U.S. judge orders Texas to move Rio Grande barriers to embankment, siding with Biden

Office Of The Governor Statement On Ruling On Texas' Border Security

by Jenna Lee,