EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) — The U.S. Department of Justice plans to sue Texas Gov. Greg Abbott over the buoy border barrier the state is installing in the Rio Grande.
The Houston Chronicle reported that the DOJ has warned Abbott that the buoys are unlawful.
Hearst Newspapers, which owns the Houston Chronicle, reportedly obtained a copy of the letter the DOJ sent to Abbott, which says: “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.”
In their letter, the Chronicle reported, Assistant Attorney General Todd Kimm and United States Attorney for the Western District of Texas Jaime Esparza say “the wall of buoys violates the Rivers and Harbors Act, which prohibits the creation of any obstruction to the navigable capacity of waters of the United States” and that “Texas did not seek authorization from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to deploy the barrier, which is required by the law.”
The buoy barriers are being installed as part of Abbott’s border security initiative Operation Lone Star. Since March 2020, the Texas Legislature has approved billions of dollars to fund Operation Lone State, which has sent Department of Public Safety troopers and Texas Army National Guard members to the border.
Troops have also installed miles-long segments of concertina wire along the border from El Paso to Brownsville.
In Eagle Pass, the buoy barriers being installed in the river and the barbed wire on the riverbank serves as a “layering effect,” a DPS spokesman told Border Report.
The buoys barrier has already drawn legal action for the state of Texas.
Jessie Fuentes, the owner of Epi’s Canoe & Kayak Team in Eagle Pass, filed a suit last Friday asking a court to remove the buoys, citing they will cause halt his business by preventing him to give tours on the Rio Grande, causing “imminent and irreparable harm.”
His attorney, Carlos Evaristo Flores, told Nexstar that since the installment, Fuentes has had to cancel tours.
Abbott responded to Fuentes’ lawsuit on social media, saying: “We will see you in court.”
Abbott said he’d take the take case to the Supreme Court.
“Texas has a constitutional right to secure our border,” he tweeted.
On Friday, the governor tweeted a similar message to President Joe Biden, saying, “Texas has the sovereign authority to defend our border, under the U.S. Constitution and the Texas Constitution.”
Abbot said he’s laid out his plans for the border and has even detailed them to Biden on several occasions.
“The tragic humanitarian crisis on the border was created because of Biden’s refusal to secure the border,” Abbott tweeted. “We will see you in court, Mr. President.”