Texas’ Floating Barriers Win Public Support, DOJ Sues State

The state of Texas has installed floating barriers in the Rio Grande to deter migrants from crossing the border illegally. The move has sparked controversy and legal challenges, but also gained approval from most Americans, according to a new poll.

What are the floating barriers?

The floating barriers are metal structures that span across the river, creating a physical obstacle for anyone trying to cross. They are anchored to the riverbed and have buoys on top to keep them afloat. They also have signs warning people not to cross and cameras to monitor the activity.

The barriers were ordered by Texas Governor Greg Abbott, a Republican, who declared a state of disaster in June 2023 due to the surge of migrants arriving at the border. Abbott said the barriers were part of his plan to “secure the border and restore order” in the face of federal inaction.

Texas’ Floating Barriers Win Public Support, DOJ Sues State
Texas’ Floating Barriers Win Public Support, DOJ Sues State

The barriers are being built by a private contractor, Lone Star Infrastructure, which was awarded a $250 million contract by the state. The company said it has installed about 10 miles of barriers so far, and plans to complete another 40 miles by the end of the year.

How do Americans feel about the barriers?

A new poll conducted by TIPP Insights for the Daily Mail found that most Americans supported the floating barriers along the Rio Grande. The poll surveyed 1,400 adults nationwide between July 28 and August 2, 2023, and had a margin of error of 2.8%.

The poll found that 56% of respondents approved of the barriers, while 37% disapproved and 7% were unsure. The support was higher among Republicans (82%) and independents (58%) than among Democrats (34%). The poll also found that 51% of respondents agreed that Texas had the right to build the barriers, while 41% disagreed and 8% were unsure.

The poll also asked about other aspects of immigration policy, such as building a wall along the entire southern border, granting amnesty to undocumented immigrants, and increasing refugee admissions. The results showed that Americans were divided on these issues, with no clear majority on either side.

What are the legal challenges to the barriers?

The floating barriers have faced opposition from environmental groups, human rights organizations, and the Mexican government, who have raised concerns about their impact on wildlife, water quality, navigation, and human dignity. They have also been challenged by the US Department of Justice (DOJ), which filed a lawsuit against Texas on July 24, 2023.

The DOJ argued that Texas violated federal law by building a structure in US waters without permission from the US Army Corps of Engineers. The DOJ also claimed that the barriers posed threats to navigation and public safety, and damaged US foreign policy by provoking diplomatic protests from Mexico.

The DOJ asked the court to issue an injunction to stop Texas from building more barriers, and to order the state to remove the existing ones at its own expense. The DOJ said that Texas had “flouted federal law” by installing the barriers without obtaining the required authorization.

Texas has vowed to defend its right to build the barriers, and accused the Biden administration of failing to enforce immigration laws and protect national security. Abbott said that Texas would not back down from its efforts to secure the border and restore order.

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