Texas deploys huge buoys along 1,000 feet of the Rio Grande in a desperate bid to stem the flow of migrants from Mexico after the end of Title 42
Texas has installed giant buoys along the Rio Grande, creating a floating barrier in a desperate effort to stop migrant crossings.
Construction on the 1,000-foot-long barrier began Friday in the city of Eagle Pass.
Officials said the four-foot-wide orange buoys will be chained together to make the barrier, and netting will be placed underneath to prevent swimming under.
Steve McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, said it was never intended to be completely impassable, but it would certainly deter some.
“There are ways to get past it, but it takes a lot of effort,” McCraw said last month. ‘Specialized skills and equipment are needed.’
Texas workers began placing a series of giant 4-foot-wide buoys Friday at Eagle Pass.
The buoys will be placed in the Rio Grande, with a net below.
The buoys are shown arriving in Texas on Friday.
The barrier is designed to be part of Operation Lone Star, which also encompasses transport immigrants to liberal states and authorize the National Guard to make arrests.
But even before the huge orange buoys were unloaded from the trailers that transported them to the border city of Eagle Pass, there were concerns about this part of Abbott’s unprecedented challenge to the federal government’s authority over immigration enforcement. .
Immigrant advocates raised concerns about drowning risks and environmentalists questioned the impact on the river.
Dozens of the large spherical buoys were stacked on the platforms of four tractor trailers in a city park near the river on Friday morning.
Governor Greg Abbott is seen on June 8 announcing the plan for the buoys on the river.
Buoys are seen being unloaded at Eagle Pass on Friday.
A group holds signs as they protest against the buoys that will be deployed in the Rio Grande.
A pandemic-era immigration law, Title 42, expired on May 12, but its expiration has actually reduced the rate of crossings.
Since May 12, the average number of daily illegal crossings has been around 3,360, according to data from the Department of Homeland Security.
In March 2022, there were 7,100.
Under the new rules, immigrants can apply for asylum before crossing, using a smartphone app. New application processing centers have been opened in Haiti, Venezuela and Cuba. And those caught trespassing will face a five-year US ban.
But the slowdown in migrant crossings is not expected to last, because the underlying factors behind migration remain.
As of June 14, there were about 104,000 migrants in northern Mexico, about eight hours from the US border, according to an intelligence estimate provided by the Biden administration in a recent court document.
And there’s more along the route from Colombia, where voyages typically begin in the Western Hemisphere.