Texas Ordered To Remove Anti-Migrant Barrier In Rio Grande

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Topline

A U.S. appeals court ordered Texas to remove its floating migrant barrier in the Rio Grande on Friday, according to multiple outlets, reversing a September court decision that granted the state’s request to leave the barrier in the river.

Key Facts

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans rejected a request from Texas seeking to reverse a federal decision that ordered the state to remove the barrier, Reuters reported.

The request was declined in a 2-1 ruling on grounds that the barrier violated an 1899 federal ban on construction in a navigable river without permission, according to the Dallas Morning News.

The ruling included testimony from state officials noting that hazards near the barrier already make it difficult for airboats to operate, conditions the court said makes the buoys an obstruction banned by federal law.

The decision comes as a setback to Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, who has said Texas is prepared to take the case “all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court,” and the state can request the 5th Circuit review the decision.

Abbott’s office did not immediately respond to Forbes’ request for comment.

Big Number

$300,000. That’s how much money state officials have said it would cost to remove the 1,000-foot-long barrier, noting such a process would take several weeks, according to the Dallas Morning News.

Key Background

The barrier was first deployed in June as part of Abbott’s Operation Lone Star, an initiative designed to bolster the border and stop illegal immigration along Texas’ 1,200-mile border. In a lawsuit levied by the U.S. Justice Department against Texas in July, prosecutors argued the barrier was installed without proper federal authorization. The state has argued that criminal activity from migrants and drug cartels gives it the power to defend itself and bypass federal law. Federal District Judge David A. Ezra ruled in favor of the barrier’s removal in September, causing Texas to appeal the case to the 5th Circuit, which temporarily blocked Ezra’s order, allowing Texas to keep the barrier in place while it considered the case.

Further Reading

Appeals court orders Texas to remove anti-migrant buoys from Rio Grande, in blow to Abbott (Dallas Morning News)

Texas must remove Rio Grande migrant barrier, US appeals court rules (Texas must remove Rio Grande migrant barrier, US appeals court rules)

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