Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has strongly defended his decision to put up a floating border wall along the Rio Grande to try to keep illegal immigrants out of his state.
“I will do whatever I have to do to defend our state from invasion by the Mexican drug cartels and others who have tried to enter our country illegally, and I will protect our sovereignty,” said the three-term Lone Star Republican leader. State told the presidents of the state’s Republican counties on Friday.
Abbott installed a nearly 1,000-foot line of large, bright orange buoys that create a divide in the river that separates the US from Mexico.
Recently, Joe Biden’s Justice Department filed a lawsuit to have the floating border removed, arguing that it is illegal and raises both humanitarian and environmental concerns.
But, until now, Abbott has refused to remove the barriers.
Migrants who made it to shore walk between the floating border and barbed wire along the Rio Grande border with Texas. The buoy line was installed to prevent illegal crossings into Texas, and primarily into Eagle Pass.
The makeshift border was set up near Eagle Pass, a town believed to be a main entry point for illegal border crossings.
The creative solution to an ongoing problem also allows authorities to move and extend the floating border to cover “hot spots” where immigrants sneak into the US.
It is called operation hold the line. They hold the line and make sure no one is illegally entering the state of Texas,” Abbott said.
Despite the DOJ’s lawsuit, which calls the floating border an “illegal construction,” the southern governor has no plans to remove it.
“He sued me, and by God, Joe Biden, we’ll see you in court,” Abbott said with conviction.
“I challenge the federal government to show that it has spent that amount of money in the state of Texas on the border under Joe Biden as president,” he added.
When the lawsuit was filed early last week, Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta said, “We allege that Texas has violated federal law by installing a barrier on the Rio Grande without obtaining the required federal authorization.”
He added that Abbott’s move has drawn diplomatic objections from Mexico.
In a preemptive response to any protest from the administration, Abbott wrote a letter to President Joe Biden that read in part, “If you really care about human life, you need to start enforcing federal immigration laws.”
‘By doing so, you can help me prevent migrants from betting their lives on the waters of the Rio Grande.
‘You can also help me save Texans, and indeed all Americans, from deadly drugs like fentanyl, cartel violence, and the horrors of human trafficking. To end the risk of harm to migrants crossing the border illegally, you must fully enforce US laws that prohibit illegal immigration between ports of entry.’
A caravan of illegal immigrants tries to ford a series of buoys that are being installed to prevent crossings on the Rio Grande.
Part of the row of buoys seen on land. Gov. Greg Abbott has called the effort “operation hold the line.”
The floating edge extends around 1,000 feet and can be moved based on where the “hot spots” intersect.
Migrants from Venezuela, one of them nursing a baby, waded across the Rio Grande River past buoys and barbed wire in search of a point of entry into the US.
A member of the Texas National Guard stands with barbed wire as they reinforce the northern border with steel spikes below the Reforma International Bridge, seen from Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico.
On Friday, the same day Abbott delivered his fiery comments, a group gathered outside the governor’s mansion in downtown Austin to protest the new border policy.
Under Operation Lone Star, Texas has deployed thousands of National Guard troops to the border and transported immigrants to Democratic-led cities far from the border.
The president’s administration has received more than 500,000 foreigners in the past two years under programs designed to reduce the number of illegals trying to cross the border into Mexico.
Customs and Border Protection officials say there were fewer than 145,000 encounters with unauthorized immigrants in June along the border with Mexico.
That’s down from more than 200,000 a month earlier this year.
But it is still believed that there are at least 100,000 migrants waiting at the border hoping to enter the US.