Updated Jul 27, 2023 - Politics & Policy

DOJ asks judge for removal of Texas floating barrier in Rio Grande

Migrants walk by a string of buoys placed as a barrier on the water along Texas' Rio Grande border with Mexico in Eagle Pass on July 16. Photo: Suzanne Cordeiro/AFP via Getty Images

The Department of Justice asked a federal judge Wednesday evening to order Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) to have a floating barrier removed at the southern border that's designed to prevent migrants crossing the Rio Grande River.

Driving the news: The string of buoys along the river have "caused significant and ongoing harm to the United States' foreign relations with Mexico," the DOJ argued in a court filing that asked for the removal of the barrier and supporting infrastructure within 10 days.

  • "On numerous occasions since late June, the Government of Mexico has lodged protests with the United States, including at the highest diplomatic levels, regarding Texas's deployment of the Floating Barrier," the proposed court injunction said.
  • The DOJ argued that Mexican officials said the country "may need to rethink and limit its cooperation with the United States going forward."

The big picture: The DOJ on Monday filed a lawsuit against Abbott and the state, arguing that the floating barrier violates federal environmental law and threatens public safety.

  • Abbott argues that it's legal because the Constitution "grants Texas sovereign authority to protect its borders."
  • The Mexican Embassy in Washington, D.C., did not immediately return Axios' request for comment.

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Editor's note: This article has been updated with further details from the court filing and more context.

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