Judge orders Texas must move river buoys by Sept. 15

HOUSTON – A federal judge ruled against the state of Texas in an on-going lawsuit over the use of buoys in the Rio Grande River.

Judge David Ezra granted the government’s motion for a preliminary injunction and ordered Texas to move the buoys currently in the Rio Grande river near Eagle Pass to the riverbank on the Texas side of the river by Sept. 15.

The judge also wrote Texas cannot construct any new buoys or structures in the river until there is a final ruling in this lawsuit.

Nearly 1,000 feet of buoys were deployed in an area of the river near Eagle Pass earlier this summer.

Gov. Greg Abbott said the buoys were needed to deter illegal immigration along this portion of the border. The federal government sued Texas, claiming the buoys violate the Rivers and Harbor Act, which requires permitting from the US Army Corps of Engineers prior to building structures in a navigable waterway.

Abbott argued Texas has a constitutional right to protect its borders and Corps permitting was not needed. In his ruling, Judge Ezra considered the arguments strictly based on on whether this portion of the Rio Grande is a navigable waterway as defined in the law and whether the buoys constitute an obstruction.

Judge Ezra, who was appointed to the bench by former President Ronald Reagan, noted this is a preliminary injunction which is why he only ordered Texas to move the buoys to the riverbank and not out of the river completely.

Abbott’s office issued this statement in response:

“Texas will appeal. Today’s court decision merely prolongs President Biden’s willful refusal to acknowledge that Texas is rightfully stepping up to do the job that he should have been doing all along. This ruling is incorrect and will be overturned on appeal. We will continue to utilize every strategy to secure the border, including deploying Texas National Guard soldiers and Department of Public Safety troopers and installing strategic barriers. Our battle to defend Texas’ sovereign authority to protect lives from the chaos caused by President Biden’s open border policies has only begun. Texas is prepared to take this fight all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.”

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.”