Federal Judge Orders Texas To Remove River Barrier

In a ruling that directly undermines Texas’s ability to control its own borders, U.S. District Judge David A. Ezra sided with the Biden administration. He ordered the removal of a floating border barrier put in place by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R). The barrier — a 1,000-foot line of buoys — was designed to act as a deterrent against illegal crossings at the Rio Grande.

“Governor Abbott announced that he was not ‘asking for permission’ for Operation Lone Star, the anti-immigration program under which Texas constructed the floating barrier,” Ezra wrote. “Unfortunately for Texas, permission is exactly what federal law requires before installing obstructions in the nation’s navigable waters.”

Abbott, never one to back down, was quick to announce an appeal. “Today’s court decision merely prolongs President Biden’s willful refusal to acknowledge that Texas is rightfully stepping up to do the job that he should have been doing all along,” the Governor stated. It’s a sentiment that resonates with many Texans and citizens nationwide who feel betrayed by the federal government’s lax approach to border control.

Underlining this is the significant number of migrant crossings in the Eagle Pass area, where the buoys were installed. This sector alone has witnessed approximately 270,000 encounters this fiscal year. The state is grappling with a crisis, and Abbott believes the federal government is not doing enough to address it.

Gov. Abbott’s moves have been spurred by what he and many others view as a lack of adequate federal action. Texas has not only deployed buoys but also coils of razor wire, steel fencing, and even its National Guard. Abbott’s broader Operation Lone Star aims to use every available strategy to protect Texans.

However, instead of working collaboratively with Texas, the Biden administration filed a lawsuit in July, accusing the state of not having the necessary authorization for the barrier and claiming it threatens foreign relations with Mexico.

Activists opposing the measure labeled it as inhumane. Carolina Canizales said, “The buoys are a symbol of the hate-filled and inhumane policies Gov. Abbott has embraced as he continues to wage war on immigrants seeking to make better lives for themselves.”

Yet, one can argue that any country has the sovereign authority to secure its borders. In a state like Texas, where illegal crossings are rampant, Abbott’s actions seem less about “waging war on immigrants” and more about fulfilling a basic governmental duty.

Given that the judge has ordered the removal of the buoys by September 15, the coming days are crucial not just for Texas but for the entire country watching this unfold. This ruling sets a troubling precedent that implies that state governments are powerless to act when they believe the federal government is falling short. It’s a state’s rights issue, and for those who value those rights, the next step in this legal battle can’t come soon enough.