DOJ asks judge to order Abbott to start Rio Grande floating barrier removal

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(WASHINGTON) — The Justice Department on Wednesday filed paperwork asking a judge to order Texas Gov. Greg Abbott to take action and have the floating barrier in the Rio Grande removed.

In a 21-page filing, attorneys for the DOJ have asked for the court to order two things: that the state remove the current floating barrier and any infrastructure used to anchor it, and that the state stop installing any further barriers while the case proceeds.

In its brief, the government claims the floating barrier has caused international concern.

“Texas’s construction of the Floating Barrier has already substantially harmed the United States’ foreign relations with Mexico,” the filing reads. “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 Justice Department sued Texas over the floating barriers earlier this week.

The new court filings indicate that Mexico has told the United States “it may need to rethink and limit its cooperation with the United States going forward” on the subject of Rio Grande water delivery from Mexico to the U.S.

The Justice Department also argues that Texas is in violation of the Rivers and Harbors Act (RHA), by building the barrier in the river without federal authorization. DOJ also cited safety concerns as a reason they’re asking for the rulings.

“The Floating Barrier interferes with the federal government’s ability to carry out its operations on the Rio Grande. For example, obstructions in the water impair the freedom of movement of Border Patrol personnel conducting rescue operations and potentially delay their response times,” the filing reads.

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