Justice Department Sues Texas Over Unauthorized Rio Grande Barrier

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Legal Battle over Navigation Threat

In a significant legal development, the Justice Department has filed a civil complaint against the State of Texas for constructing an unauthorized Rio Grande Barrier. The barrier, built without the required federal authorization under the Rivers and Harbors Act, has raised concerns over navigation safety and diplomatic tensions with Mexico.

Associate Attorney General, Vanita Gupta, emphasized, “We allege that Texas has flouted federal law by installing the Rio Grande Barrier without obtaining the necessary authorization. This floating barrier poses risks to navigation, public safety, and has humanitarian implications. Additionally, Mexico has lodged diplomatic protests, and it even risks damaging U.S. foreign policy.”

The Rivers and Harbors Act explicitly prohibits placing unauthorized barriers or obstructions in the Rio Grande and other navigable waters of the United States. Assistant Attorney General Todd Kim of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division reiterated their intent to seek legal remedies, including the removal of such obstructions from the Rio Grande.

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According to the complaint, Texas directed the placement of a floating barrier, consisting of buoys four to six feet in diameter strung together, in the Rio Grande approximately two miles south of the Camino Real International Bridge in Eagle Pass, Texas, earlier this month. Governor Abbott has hinted at the possibility of constructing more barriers as part of “Operation Lone Star,” which also involves placing concertina wire near the U.S.-Mexico border.

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U.S. Attorney Jaime Esparza of the Western District of Texas stressed the importance of upholding laws and policies to ensure the safety and security of everyone along the Rio Grande. The State of Texas now faces legal consequences for disregarding both domestic and international laws.

The complaint has been lodged in U.S. District Court in the Western District of Texas, and the case is being litigated by the Environmental Defense Section of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. The resolution of this unfolding legal battle and its potential impact on U.S.-Mexico relations in the broader context of border security remains to be seen.

READ USA v Governor Greg Abbott

Source: DOJ

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