Texas Governor Greg Abbott sent a letter to President Biden Monday to counter threats from the U.S. Department of Justice to sue the state over its deployment of a floating buoy barrier system in the Rio Grande.
Installation of 1,000 feet of the buoy border barrier began in the Rio Grande near Eagle Pass, Texas, on July 7.
The floating barrier, made of four-foot-wide buoys with attached webbing, are meant to deter and impede migrants who attempt to cross into the U.S. illegally by swimming across the Rio Grande.
Gov. Abbott claimed in his letter that the Justice Department sent him a letter last week threatening to sue Texas due to the installation of the buoys allegedly violating the “Rivers and Harbors Act,” which prohibits the construction of certain structures in U.S. waters that could impede navigation without permission from Congress.
Late Monday, the Biden Administration did file a lawsuit against the Texas governor.
In his earlier letter, Abbot argued that Texas has Constitutional authority to defend its borders because the President “refuses to enforce federal immigration laws.”
President Joe Biden, Abbot claims, is in “ongoing violation” of Article IV, § 4 of the U.S. Constitution, which states that the U.S. “shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion.”
According to Abbot, Biden’s refusal to enforce immigration law means the president has failed to satisfy his constitutional obligation to safeguard American citizens and to protect the states from invasion.
“The fact is, if you would just enforce the immigration laws Congress already has on the books, America would not be suffering from your record-breaking level of illegal immigration,” Abbot said in his letter Monday.
“If you truly care about human life, you must begin enforcing federal immigration laws. By doing so, you can help me stop migrants from wagering their lives in the waters of the Rio Grande River,” Abbott said. “You can also help me save Texans, and indeed all Americans, from deadly drugs like fentanyl, cartel violence, and the horrors of human trafficking. “
“To end the risk that migrants will be harmed crossing the border illegally, you must fully enforce the laws of the United States that prohibit illegal immigration between ports of entry. In the meantime, Texas will fully utilize its constitutional authority to deal with the crisis you have caused. Texas will see you in court, Mr. President,” said Abbott.
Since the launch of Abbot’s comprehensive border security plan, dubbed “Operation Lone Star,” the state has apprehended more than 387,000 illegal immigrants and seized more than 421 million lethal doses of fentanyl.
Though thousands of miles away, Texas’s border security initiative bears heavily on Maine.
One consequence of Texas’ beefed-up border security has been that human traffickers are increasingly looking to smuggle migrants into the U.S. illegally through other states’ borders, including the northern border with Canada.
The U.S. Customs and Border Protection June Nationwide Encounters Report revealed an over 11 percent decrease in the number of FY 2023 year-to-date migrant apprehensions at five Texas-based points of entry.
Meanwhile, Robert Garcia, Chief Border Patrol Agent of the Swanton Sector, which covers the U.S.-Canadian border in Vermont as well as some parts of New Hampshire and New York, tweeted on July 19 that his agents have arrested over 4,900 subjects from 68 counties in the sector in less than 10 months — more than the last 8 years combined.
U.S. customs and border security officials in Maine have also seen a rise in attempted illegal crossings. So much so that U.S. Customs and Border Protection has recently aired radio advertisements to raise interest in job openings with the agency.