Texas has been told it must move the line of floating buoys and underwater nets that it placed in the middle of the Rio Grande River to stop would-be migrants from crossing into the US from Mexico.
BREAKING: a federal judge has ordered Gov Abbott to remove his border buoy death trap from the Rio Grande.
They should also remove the miles of deadly razor-wire strung along the river, which continues to pose a life-threatening risk to people & wildlife.pic.twitter.com/EKgC7ReMwQ
— Laiken Jordahl (@LaikenJordahl) September 6, 2023
A federal judge ruled the buoys were ineffective, dangerous, and could have diplomatic consequences.
He asked the state to move them out of the water and on to the riverbank by 15 September.
The lawsuit was filed by the Biden administration, which sued Texas over the water barriers, citing humanitarian and environmental concerns.
Texas officials said they plan to appeal against Wednesday’s ruling.
“Today’s court decision merely prolongs President Joe Biden’s wilful refusal to acknowledge that Texas is rightfully stepping up to do the job that he should have been doing all along,” Governor Greg Abbott, a Republican, said in a statement.
He wrote there was no “credible evidence that the buoy barrier as installed has significantly curtailed illegal immigration”.
Judge Ezra also raised concerns that Texas’ actions could harm relations between the US and Mexico.
US Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta said the Biden administration welcomed the decision.
“We are pleased that the court ruled that the barrier was unlawful and irreparably harms diplomatic relations, public safety, navigation, and the operations of federal agency officials in and around the Rio Grande,” Mr Gupta said.
In the United States it is generally considered that responsibility for immigrantion and border protection is the realm of the federal government, but in recent times some state governments, such as Texas, have claimed joint responsibility in that area of policy. This issues are then decided by courts.