Photo: Chandan Khanna/AFP via Getty Images.
Photo: Chandan Khanna/AFP via Getty Images.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott ignores DOJ’s request to remove river buoys in the Rio Grande River


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Texas Governor Greg Abbott in a letter to the Biden administration said he’d not comply with the Justice Department’s (DOJ) request to remove the floating buoys in the Rio Grande River despite the DOJ’s threat of legal action if the barriers were not removed by Monday at 2 p.m.

“If you truly care about human life, you must begin enforcing federal immigration laws,” Abbott wrote in the letter Monday. “In the meantime, Texas will fully utilize its constitutional authority to deal with the crisis you have caused.” 

“Texas will see you in court, Mr. President,” Abbott added.

Assistant Attorney General Todd Kim and U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Texas Jaime Esparza warned Abbott in a letter that the floating barriers posed “a risk to navigation, as well as public safety, in the Rio Grande River, and it presents humanitarian concerns.”

“The State of Texas’s actions violate federal law, raise humanitarian concerns, present serious risks to public safety and the environment, and may interfere with the federal government’s ability to carry out its official duties,” Kim and Esparza wrote last week in the letter obtained by The Hill.

The attorneys also wrote that the barriers violated multiple provisions of the Rivers and Harbors Act, which “prohibits the creation of any obstruction to the navigable capacity of waters of the United States, and further prohibits building any structure in such waters without authorization from the United States Army Corps of Engineers.”

The floating barriers, as a part of Abbott’s multibillion-dollar Operation Lone Star to secure the border, covers 1,000 feet in the middle of the nearly 2,000 mile long Rio Grande, with anchors in the riverbed. 

US House Democrats have also been calling on the Biden administration to address Abbott’s controversial border operation.

Nearly 100 Democratic lawmakers penned a letter to the President on Friday urging him “to assert your authority over federal immigration policy and foreign relations and investigate and pursue legal action, as appropriate, related to stop Governor Abbott’s dangerous and cruel actions.”

Congressional Hispanic Caucus Chairwoman Nanette Barragán (D-Calif.) joined in on the criticism towards Abbott’s border policies, calling them “disturbing.”

“Governor Abbott’s shameless alleged actions are inexcusable, and there must be a full and transparent investigation into the possible crimes that he ordered to prevent further violence and mistreatment of children, asylum seekers, and migrants,” she wrote.

The governor, however, feels he is within his constitutional rights. 

“Texas has the sovereign authority to defend our border, under the U.S. Constitution and the Texas Constitution,” Abbott tweeted on Friday.

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