The Department of Justice (DOJ) will take legal action against Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott over his decision to erect a floating border barrier along the southern border, CNN reported Friday.
Abbott announced in early June that he’d place a floating buoy barrier in the Rio Grande River to deter illegal immigration into his state. The DOJ sent a letter to Abbott Thursday alleging a violation of federal law, according to CNN.
“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,” the letter stated, citing a portion of law that “prohibits the creation of any obstruction to the navigable capacity of waters of the United States, and further prohibits building any structure in such waters without authorization from the United States Army Corps of Engineers (“Corps”),” according to CNN.
Democrats and the government of Mexico, which suggested that the buoys violated an international water treaty, have criticized Abbott over the barrier. Democratic Texas Rep. Veronica Escobar, who represents the border city of El Paso, sent a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland and Secretary of State Antony Blinken July 13 urging them to investigate the floating barrier over environmental and safety concerns.
In response to Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s recent suggestion that Mexican-Americans shouldn’t vote for Abbott over the issue, the Texas governor’s office hit back in a recent statement to the Daily Caller News Foundation.
“President López Obrador has stood idly by as Mexican drug cartels run rampant and profit off the chaos of this border crisis, smuggling in deadly drugs like fentanyl, as illegal immigrants from over 150 countries surge across the border from Mexico into Texas,” Abbott spokesperson Andrew Mahaleris told the DCNF.
“We don’t want people to come across and continue to put themselves at risk when they go between the ports of entry,” Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) Director Steve McCraw said at the time of Abbott’s announcement.
“Because of the water and the buoyancy of these, it’s very difficult to be able to go through these, it’s very difficult to come over. Now, there’s things you can do, and I won’t tell you exactly what to do and what time to do it, but there’s ways to overcome it, but it takes great effort, it takes specialized skills and equipment to do it,” McCraw added.
Neither the DOJ, nor Abbott’s office responded to the DCNF’s requests for comment.
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