Hearing set in lawsuit over Texas’ deployment of buoys on the Rio Grande

Governor Greg Abbott gave several GOP Governors a tour of the Texas border Monday afternoon. The tour comes on the eve of a federal court hearing involving a lawsuit challenging Texas’ authority to deploy nearly a thousand feet of buoys near the Camino Real bridge in Eagle Pass.

Abbott hosted Governors from Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Oklahoma. All support his efforts along the border and all blame President Joe Biden’s administration for the record number of apprehensions seen along our border. As part of Operation Lone Star, the Texas Department of Public Safety launched the buoys last month. Eagle Pass is within Border Patrol’s Del Rio sector, which has become the second busiest sector for apprehensions along the entire southwest border.

Abbott defended Texas’ right to deploy the buoys and attorneys for the state plan to argue the buoys violate no laws. The hearing on the federal government’s motion to remove the buoys will take place in federal court in Austin. Judge David Ezra is presiding over the lawsuit. He was appointed to the bench by Pres. Ronald Reagan in 1988.

“We are fully authorized by the Constitution of the United States of America, to do exactly what we are doing,” said Abbott.

The government’s lawsuit claims the buoys violates the Rivers and Harbors Act, which requires permits from the Army Corps of Engineers before structures are built on navigable waterways. On Friday a survey of the buoys conducted by the International Boundary and Water Commission was filed as part of the lawsuit. The survey shows the majority of cement anchors holding the buoys are on Mexico’s side of the river. Then over the weekend, government attorneys filed pictures showing Texas moving the buoys.

“Out of an abundance of caution, Texas went back and moved the buoys into a location that they are on the United States side,” Abbott said following the tour.

Abbott claims the buoys were not placed in a navigable portion of the river and do not create an obstruction, therefore violating no laws.

While much of the attention is being focused on the buoys, the structures are a small portion of the entire operation Abbott launched along this portion of the border. Drones fly above the portion of the river that passes Shelby Park in Eagle Pass and the city’s golf course. Concertina wire has been strung for miles along the river and over the top of steel containers lining the river bank.

KPRC 2 saw numerous boats from both DPS and Texas Games Wardens patrolling the river, along with help from Florida Game Wardens. The park has become a major base of operations for Texas’ border efforts.

About the Author:

Award winning investigative journalist who joined KPRC 2 in July 2000. Husband and father of the Master of Disaster and Chaos Gremlin. “I don’t drink coffee to wake up, I wake up to drink coffee.”