Los Angeles, US, Sep 7 (EFE).- A United States federal appeals court on Thursday afternoon issued a stay on a lower court ruling to allow Texas to at least temporarily keep its anti-immigrant floating buoy barrier on the Rio Grande.
The 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals order puts on hold the removal of the buoys along the Mexico border that were put in place by Texas in July to stop migrants crossing into Texas.
On Wednesday, Judge David Ezra ordered the state to remove the barriers before Sep. 15, saying that the 300m string of large buoys “is an obstruction to the navigable capacity of the Rio Grande River and required authorization from Congress.”
Ezra also determined that there was no credible evidence that the buoy barrier has significantly curtailed illegal immigration.
The Department of Justice had sued Texas in July, asking a federal court to order the state to remove the buoys, citing threats to navigation, public safety and diplomatic ties, and raised humanitarian concerns.
Texas, governed by Republican Greg Abbott, had argued that the 1899 federal law prohibiting unauthorized construction on navigable waterways conflicted with its constitutional right to “repel” what it described as an “invasion” of migrants that the barrier has served to defend against.
In early August, US authorities found two migrant bodies floating on the river near the buoys.
The controversial floating border is part of Abbott’s Operation Lone Star, a campaign launched to stop undocumented migrants and show opposition to Biden’s policies.
Abbott has remained defiant since the Justice Department filed its suit on July 24 demanding that Texas remove barriers installed at a cost of $850,000.
The initiative has also been behind the state sending of busloads of migrants to cities governed by Democrats and the installation of kilometers of razor wire on the border with Mexico, among other measures.
The government of Mexico asked the US on several occasions to remove the barrier, claiming that most of the buoys were in its territory.
The International Boundary and Water Commission, a binational entity, corroborated this statement in a report presented to the court, which concludes that the vast majority of the buoys are on the Mexican side. EFE