McALLEN, Texas (Border Report) — Under Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s command, the Department of Public Safety has formed a boat blockade on the Rio Grande to keep undocumented migrants out of South Texas.

DPS officials on Sunday posted a video taken by air showing at least 17 boats spaced out on the U.S. side of the river near the town of La Joya.

A DPS Tweet called the “enhanced operations” necessary “to stop the flow of migrants entering TX illegally.” And it said the “heavy presence on the river” is part of Operation Lone Star, a state-funded Abbott-led initiative to guard the Texas-Mexico border.

Agencies participating in the blockade include the Texas Game Warden and the Texas National Guard, as well as DPS’s Tactical Marine Unit.

Abbott launched Operation Lone Star in March using state resources and equipment to ramp up border security.

The area where the boats were stationed is one that since the spring has been heavily used by human smugglers, or coyotes, to bring migrant families and unaccompanied migrant youth across into South Texas.

On Monday, some Republican lawmakers applauded the heightened military presence on the waters of this town on the western edge of Hidalgo County.

U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul tweeted that “Texans are stepping up to the plate!”

Meanwhile, environmentalists decried the heavy use of force.

Scott Nicol, who used to head the Sierra Club’s Borderlands Campaign tweeted it is “an absolute waste of resources.”

Last month, Abbott instructed the Texas Military and National Guard and DPS to line dozens of shipping containers on the riverbanks of Eagle Pass to prevent anyone from crossing the Rio Grande there.

Abbott tweeted Monday evening his appreciation to DPS for their “around the clock” efforts to secure the border.

Sandra Sanchez can be reached at