The U.S. Justice Department has announced its plans to legally challenge Governor Greg Abbott of Texas, following his implementation of a buoy border barrier on the Rio Grande that seeks to prevent unauthorized immigration.
The Justice Department contends that, by taking such action, Texas is contradicting federal jurisdiction, instigating punitive humanitarian issues, endangering public health and potentially occluding the routine execution of federal responsibilities.
This contention was disclosed via a formal letter addressed to Governor Abbott, as revealed by Houston Chronicle sources.
Governor Abbott had initially declared intent for the barricade, a construction of bright orange buoys, in June, in an attempt to deter migrants from entering the Lone Star state through the Rio Grande.
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The installation process commenced earlier this month. Anticipations from Texas authorities estimate a fortnight to completely lay out these buoys.
The reasoning behind this proposal, according to Texan officials, is a strategic move to dissuade immigrants from risking traversing the dangerous waterbody.
Steve McCraw, Texas Department of Public Safety director, last month confirmed the safety concerns by acknowledging the risks borne by migrants attempt to cross the river.
Nevertheless, the Justice Department is challenging this initiative from a humanitarian viewpoint and citing various other potential hazards tied to the strategy. Its letter, as mentioned in the Chronicle, notes the peril to both navigation and public safety that may arise due to these buoy barriers in the Rio Grande River.
The department has also noted its distress over related humanitarian repercussions.
In accordance with these criticisms, the letter from the Justice Department proposes seeking legal remedies, which might include requests for injunctions compelling Texas to dismantle the barrier or any other obstructions in the Rio Grande River. A deadline of July 24 was provided for Abbott to respond.
Reacting to this letter via a Twitter post, Governor Abbott stressed that Texas was within its constitutional rights, both at the state and federal level, to safeguard its borders.
He further noted multiple instances of correspondence with the Biden Administration, detailing their lawful prerogative, including a note personally handed over to President Biden earlier in the year.
The Texan Governor’s markedly strained relationship with the Biden administration concerning border management is nothing new.
While accusations from the Biden administration revolve around alleged inhumane actions by Abbott, the Governor has retorted by blaming the administration for exacerbating the immigrant conundrum.
Reproaching the administration, Abbott claimed that the root cause of the border calamity emerged from the administration’s refusal to enforce immigration policy.
He accused the administration’s border policies of enticing illegal migrants to risk the dangerous crossing of the Rio Grande, as opposed to adopting a more secure and legal path. Abbott made these observations last Friday.
Abbott went on to state Texas was stepping up to confront this crisis responsibly. Asserting a continuous commitment to deploy every available strategic method to safeguard Texans, American citizens and at-risk migrants, Abbott defiantly stated, ‘We will see you in court, Mr. President.’
Despite this, the Biden administration has fervently criticized Abbott’s independent efforts to address the ongoing border crisis, which is now in its third year.
Among his measures, Abbott has restarted construction of the border wall and instigated razor-wire installations while also transporting migrants to sanctuary cities such as Washington, D.C., and New York City.
An unnamed senior administration official revealed to Fox news on Friday, disapprovingly stating that Abbott’s individual initiatives risk the lives of both migrants and agents.
These allegations are supported by reports of multiple incidents of severe injuries and drownings, particularly due to razor wire deployment.
The official then went on to highlight that Abbott’s maneuvers are obstructing Border Patrol’s access to the river and the surrounding areas, thereby hindering their ability to apprehend those entering the country illegally.
He added that such actions were even forcing agents to wade through multitudes of razor wire fences during medical emergencies.
Pointing to the recent decline in illegal border crossings, as revealed by June’s statistics which showed the lowest immigration numbers since February 2021, the official suggested Governor Abbott was undermining the President’s effective border protection plan.
This plan allegedly managed to reduce unlawful entries to the barest minimum in over two years.
Meanwhile, Abbott’s Rio Grande barrier faces international backlash too, specifically from Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.
Following an official complaint over the barrier, Lopez Obrador used this issue to seemingly politically manipulate the U.S. Hispanic constituency by suggesting they refrain from supporting Abbott or any other Republican promoting rigid border control measures.
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