U.S. judge orders Texas to move Rio Grande barrier

STORY: A U.S. judge has ordered Texas to remove giant floating buoys that were installed in the middle of the Rio Grande.

The 1,000 foot-long barrier was intended to block migrants from crossing the U.S.-Mexico border.

U.S. District Court Judge David Ezra ruled on Wednesday that the buoys, currently located near the city of Eagle Pass, be moved to an embankment on the Texas side of the river by September 15.

The ruling is a tentative win for President Joe Biden whose administration sued the state, arguing the buoys and heavy concrete anchors that hold them in place disrupt navigation and were installed without federal approval.

It’s also a setback for Texas Governor Greg Abbot, who pushed hard for the barrier, and contends that Biden has been too lenient on border security.

Texas immediately appealed the ruling and Abbott’s office said it was willing to take the case to the Supreme Court if needed.

In a statement, the governor’s office said quote: “Our battle to defend Texas’ sovereign authority to protect lives from the chaos caused by President Biden’s open border policies has only begun.”

The U.S. Attorney General’s office meanwhile said it was pleased with Ezra’s ruling.

Abbott’s anti-immigration initiatives came under increased scrutiny in July after an internal trooper email surfaced alleging that Texas authorities had been ordered to push migrant children back into the river and deny water to migrants in extreme heat.

Weeks later, a dead body was found stuck in the buoys.

The Texas Department of Public Safety said the victim appeared to have drifted into the barrier after drowning.

In a diplomatic letter to the U.S. in June, Mexico argued the barrier violates a water treaty between the two nations and may encroach on Mexican territory.

In his ruling, Ezra cited the strain the buoys have placed on U.S.-Mexico ties, arguing the relationship could deteriorate further if the barrier is left in place.

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