McALLEN, Texas (Border Report) — Migrant advocacy groups appeared ready on Wednesday for a judge to rule in their favor and order Texas to remove the string of border buoys the state put in the Rio Grande in Eagle Pass to deter illegal immigration.

Comments were posted to social media sites quickly reacting to the federal judge’s ruling, while Gov. Greg Abbott, R-Texas, within minutes issued a statement saying the state will appeal the ruling.

“Texas will 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. This ruling is incorrect and will be overturned on appeal. We will continue to utilize every strategy to secure the border, including deploying Texas National Guard soldiers and Department of Public Safety troopers and installing strategic barriers,” Abbott said.

The federal judge in Austin has given the state until Sept. 15 to remove the $1 million 1,000-foot-long string of giant orange spherical buoys that were put in the river in July.

Texas relocated the buoys on Aug. 23 closer to the U.S. side of the Rio Grande after complaints that the string was in Mexican waters. (Sandra Sanchez/Border Report file photo)

“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, as millions of other immigrants have done for hundreds of years in this country,” Immigrant Legal Resource Center Senior Texas Strategist Carolina Canizales said. “This stretch of the beautiful Rio Grande River has been turned into a militarized zone and has wreaked havoc in the peaceful community of Eagle Pass.”

“We hope this ruling leads to the complete dismantling of Operation Lone Star, Gov. Abbott’s unconstitutional and racist law enforcement operation targeting migrants for arrest, jail, and deportation,” Canizales said.

“From the onset, Gov. Abbott’s improvised buoy wall was an inhumane response to a humanitarian emergency, but this ruling makes crystal clear its underlying illegality,” said Krish O’Mara Vignarajah, president and CEO of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service.

“This was, of course, the obvious outcome. Only complete fools would argue that a 1,000-foot buoy barrier was going to deter anyone from crossing the border. In fact, there are dozens of pictures of migrants on the other side of the barrier who just walked around it,” tweeted Aaron Reichlin-Melnick, policy council for the American Immigration Council.

The Biden administration sued the state of Texas to remove the marine barrier.

U.S. District Judge David Ezra on Wednesday noted complaints by Mexican officials against the border barrier influenced his ruling.

Mexican Ambassador to the U.S. Esteban Moctezuma last week told Border Report that Mexico opposes the border buoys.

“These buoys are against international law, against the binational relationship, against the treaty we have with the United States because the Rio Grande is not an American river, and it’s not a Mexican river. It’s a binational river,” Moctezuma said after giving the keynote speech last week at the NADBank Summit 2023 in San Antonio, where he spoke about the importance of preserving the international waterway

The 1,000-foot string of buoys cost Texas $1 million to install in the Rio Grande in Eagle Pass, Texas. (Sandra Sanchez/Border Report file photo)

“The federal judge’s ruling against Operation Lone Star is a necessary step towards justice, shedding light on inhumane and cruel practices that have no place in our society,” said Texas state Sen. Roland Gutierrez, a Democrat who is running for U.S. Senate.

“Abbott knows his actions are illegal. I’m glad the court is forcing him to remove his death traps from the Rio Grande. He has endangered lives, damaged Texas’ working relationship with our largest trading partner and let politics rather than sensible policy dictate his actions,” U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, tweeted.

“It’s ridiculous that instead of enforcing the laws at our border, the Biden Admin is focusing their efforts on suing Texas for taking steps to deter illegal migrant crossings,” U.S. Rep. August Pfluger, R-Texas, tweeted.

“We’re relieved Gov. Abbott’s death trap will be removed from the Rio Grande,” Laiken Jordahl, Southwest conservation advocate at the Center for Biological Diversity, told Border Report. “The harm these buoys inflicted on both people and wildlife was unconscionable, all for a photo op. Abbott should also take down the deadly razor wire he strung along the banks of the river, which continues to threaten the lives of asylum seekers and wildlife along the beautiful Rio Grande.”

Sandra Sanchez can be reached at