(WASHINGTON) — The Justice Department on Friday warned Texas GOP Gov. Greg Abbott that his administration’s use of ballards — or buoys — in the Rio Grande river to stop migrants could bring legal action.
“The State of Texas’s actions violate federal law, raise humanitarian concerns, present serious risks to public safety and the environment, and may interfere with the federal government’s ability to carry out its official duties,” the letter obtained by ABC News says.
Earlier this week, Abbott had ballards installed in the river in an effort to deter migrants from crossing.
“Texas’s unauthorized construction of the floating barrier is a prima facie violation of the Rivers and Harbors Act. This floating barrier poses a risk to navigation, as well as public safety, in the Rio Grande River, and it presents humanitarian concerns,” the letter says. “Thus, we intend to seek appropriate legal remedies, which may include seeking injunctive relief requiring the removal of obstructions or other structures in the Rio Grande River.”
Abbot responded, “Texas has the sovereign authority to defend our border, under the U.S. Constitution and the Texas Constitution. We have sent the Biden Administration numerous letters detailing our authority, including the one I hand-delivered to President Biden earlier this year.”
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