Abbott Says He’ll Defy Fed Order to Remove Barbed Wire Barriers on Rio Grande

Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott has indicated that he’ll defy an order from the Division of Justice (DOJ) to take away barbed wire buoy boundaries within the Rio Grande, an motion that has prompted a federal lawsuit against him and other Texas officials.

The boundaries are a part of Abbott’s so-called “Operation Lone Star” program, which seeks to discourage migrants from coming into the U.S. by way of the Texas-Mexico border. In a letter despatched by the DOJ to Abbott’s workplace final week, the division warned that it will sue Texas if the boundaries weren’t eliminated by Monday.

Over the weekend and on Monday, Abbott indicated that he wouldn’t be eradicating the boundaries, leading the DOJ to file a lawsuit in federal district court in Austin late Monday afternoon.

Miles of those related buoys, which have barbed wire connected to them, are on the river near Eagle Pass, Texas, the place the second-highest variety of migrant crossings have occurred over the previous 12 months. To date throughout Operation Lone Star, the positioning has seen a plethora of abuses towards migrants, together with youngsters, as evidenced in a letter from a state Division of Public Security trooper to his superiors final month.

That letter cited a number of disturbing incidents, together with direct orders to troopers to bodily hurt migrants. It additionally detailed how a lady experiencing a miscarriage was caught in barbed wire close to the border in June, and the way a 4-year-old woman handed out resulting from warmth exhaustion as she had tried to cross the barrier however was pushed again by a Texas Nationwide Guard soldier.

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Different incidents recounted within the letter embody a teen boy breaking his leg attempting to navigate across the buoys, and a rise within the variety of drownings within the space on account of the buoys.

In the DOJ’s letter to Abbott last week, the division mentioned {that a} lawsuit was imminent if the governor didn’t instantly order the elimination of the buoys.

“The State of Texas’ actions violate federal legislation, elevate humanitarian issues, current critical dangers to public security and the surroundings, and should intervene with the federal authorities’s skill to hold out its official duties,” the Justice Division letter acknowledged.

“Texas doesn’t have authorization from the Corps [of Engineers] to put in the floating barrier and didn’t search such authorization earlier than doing so,” the division went on.

The letter continued:

We intend to hunt acceptable authorized cures, which can embody searching for injunctive aid requiring the elimination of obstructions or different buildings within the Rio Grande River.

Abbott indicated late final week that he wouldn’t abide by the DOJ’s calls for. “Texas has the sovereign authority to defend our border,” he claimed in a post on Twitter.

He repeated that sentiment on Monday, stating in a letter addressed to President Joe Biden that “Texas will absolutely make the most of its constitutional authority” to deal with the migration disaster, which Abbott blamed Biden for creating.

“Texas will see you in courtroom, Mr. President,” Abbott added.

The White Home condemned Abbott’s defiance.

“The governor’s actions are merciless and placing each migrants and border brokers at risk,” mentioned White Home spokesperson Abdullah Hasan.

Specialists have denounced the actions of Abbott and Operation Lone Star brokers as unlawful and in violation of worldwide legislation. Earlier than the DOJ despatched its letter to Abbott final week, the State Department had made several requests to examine the barbed wire blockade however was ignored by the Abbott administration. Mexican officers have additionally condemned Abbott’s actions as inhumane and unlawful.

A number of lawmakers and activists have decried Abott’s insurance policies.

“That is completely monstrous, inhumane coverage,” mentioned Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas).

“The Biden administration must step in and put an finish to this brutality being waged by the state of Texas towards human beings,” progressive activist Robert Cruickshank wrote on Twitter.

Vanessa Cárdenas, government director of America’s Voice, an immigrants’ rights group, called the actions by Abbott “wasteful” and “dehumanizing,” noting that such measures had been pushed by “ugly political incentives.”

“As a nation, we should always by no means settle for the notion that the one strategy to handle migration is by cruelty,” Cárdenas mentioned, including that Biden “ought to step up its condemnation of shameful GOP assaults on immigrants.”

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