- Some of the issues raised against Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s floating barrier along the southern border involve environmental and recreational concerns.
- The Department of Justice (DOJ) recently sued Abbott over the barriers, arguing that the governor skirted federal approval to erect the buoys.
- “All of these objections stand as evidence that those lodging them know deep down that this marine barrier is going to be highly impactful and an effective game changer on river crossing. If they believed otherwise – that it won’t work – they’d simply go home smirking,” Center for Immigration Studies Senior National Security Fellow Todd Bensman told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
Some of the issues threatening Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s floating border barriers are outside of immigration and include protections for local wildlife and recreational activities.
The concerns raised have involved local mussel populations and kayak and canoe activity in the area. The Department of Justice (DOJ) sued Abbott on July 24 over the floating barrier, arguing that the barrier violates two sections of the Rivers and Harbors Appropriation Act of 1899 for allegedly obstructing navigable waters and flouting approval from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
“All of these objections stand as evidence that those lodging them know deep down that this marine barrier is going to be highly impactful and an effective game changer on river crossing. If they believed otherwise – that it won’t work – they’d simply go home smirking,” Center for Immigration Studies Senior National Security Fellow Todd Bensman told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
The Biden administration’s Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed that two species of mussels, the Salina mucket and the Mexican fawnsfoot, in the area of the Rio Grande where the barrier is erected be protected as endangered species, which could mean the demise of the buoys, the Washington Examiner recently reported.
“In making this proposed listing determination, the Service carefully assessed the status of the Rio Grande mussels, including the past, present and future threats that they face,” Amy Lueders, the Service’s Southwest regional director, said in a statement. “Because the single existing populations of both species have low abundance, limited recruitment, and no ability to disperse into new areas, they are extremely vulnerable to extinction.”
Republican Texas Rep. Jodey Arrington criticized the Biden administration’s concern with the mussel species in a statement Wednesday, calling it a “shell game for open border policies.”
“Where was Biden’s U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s concerns when millions of migrants trampled the mussel’s ‘critical habitat’ while illegally crossing the Rio Grande?,” Arrington asked in his statement.
A recreational kayaking and canoeing company, Epi’s Canoe and Kayak Team, LLC, also sued Abbott, saying the barrier would obstruct their business operations.
“EPI is a small Texas-based business that provides customers with training and experience on the Rio Grande River using canoes and kayaks. EPI’s market is focused solely on canoeing and kayaking sessions in Eagle Pass on the Rio Grande River in areas to be impacted by the buoys,” the lawsuit reads.
“If Governor Abbott proceeds with installation of the buoys, EPI will be unable to conduct tours and canoe and kayak sessions in Eagle Pass. According to the information to date, portions of Governor Abbott’s buoy floating wall will be installed just south of the International Bridge #2 in Eagle Pass, which is where EPI conducts its business activities,” it adds.
The lawsuit also argues that “the buoys represent a hateful policy that intends to create the impression that Mexicans, immigrants, and Mexican Americans living within the OLS Zone are dangerous.”
“So the degree of opposition they are putting up is inversely proportional to the barrier’s potential to significantly stop illegal immigration, and to thwart desire, policy and plans for mass illegal immigration,” Bensman, who led counterterrorism intelligence for the Texas Department of Public Safety’s Intelligence and Counterterrorism Division, said.
“Those who oppose mass illegal immigration should take great heart from these efforts as confirmation that they have wisely chosen this new tactic and proceed with determination. This is going to work and work maybe better than anything else brought to bear so far!,” he added.
Meanwhile, the DOJ’s argument is focused on allegations that Abbott flouted federal authorization, which would’ve required a safety assessment, according to the initial complaint.
“This floating barrier poses threats to navigation and public safety and presents humanitarian concerns. Additionally, the presence of the floating barrier has prompted diplomatic protests by Mexico and risks damaging U.S. foreign policy,” Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta previously said in a statement regarding the lawsuit.
Abbott welcomed the lawsuit, saying “see you in court, Mr. President.”
“While I share the humanitarian concerns noted in your lawyers’ letter, Mr. President, your finger points in the wrong direction. Neither of us wants to see another death in the Rio Grande River. Yet your open-border policies encourage migrants to risk their lives by crossing illegally through the water, instead of safely and legally at a port of entry. Nobody drowns on a bridge,” Abbott wrote in a response to the Biden administration.
Abbott’s office didn’t respond to a request for comment.
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