On Friday the Biden administration warned Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) that his state had three days to negotiate the removal of the buoys that they have placed to block illegal immigrants from closing the Rio Grande, or they would take legal action against them.
The letter from the Department of Justice was sent not only to Abbott but also to the interim state Attorney General Angela Colmenero (R). In it, the department noted that the installation of the barriers might deter migrants from attempting to cross, but they were also in violation of multiple federal laws.
Jaime Esparza, the United States Attorney for the Western District of Texas, and Assistant Attorney General Todd Kim wrote in the letter that the installation violated federal law and that it had created humanitarian concerns as well as concerns about the environment and effects on public safety that these buoys might have. They further pointed out that the installations could block the federal government from carrying out its tasks and duties.
The Rivers and Harbors Act was specifically cited in the letter as they pointed out that it was against the law for a construction to be created that could block the country’s navigable waters. Any such construction required authorization from the Army Corps of Engineers. This permission was not obtained by the state of Texas.
They proceeded to note that they were going to look through the legal remedies available to ensure that these obstructions are removed.
GOP-governed states like Texas have tried to implement harder immigration policies as a way of dealing with the migration crisis, as they claim that the federal government is not handling its duties in securing the border.