Installation of the buoy border wall ordered by Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbot began Friday on the Rio Grande in Eagle Pass, Texas.
Once finished, the floating barrier and its attached webbing will cover 1,000 feet in the middle of the Rio Grande.
The floating barrier system, made of four-foot-wide-buoys which can be quickly installed and moved, is meant to deter and impede migrants who attempt to cross into the U.S. by swimming across the Rio Grande, a treacherous way to pass into the country which frequently results in drowning.
In early July, over the span of just 48 hours, the Texas Department of Public Safety Tactical Marine Unit (TMU) recovered four deceased bodies including an infant from the Rio Grande in Eagle Pass.
The installation of the first 1,000 feet of the marine barrier will cost about $1 million, and is paid for as part of the more than $5 billion in funding for border security passed by the Texas Legislature in 2023.
The buoy barrier is just the latest effort in Gov. Abbot’s comprehensive border security plan, “Operation Lone Star,” which includes busing migrants to sanctuary cities such as New York City and Los Angeles, installing barriers made of barbed and razor wire, and placing additional state checkpoints beyond the existing federal control posts.
Since the launch of Abbot’s Operation Lone Star, the effort has led to over 387,000 illegal immigrant apprehensions, 30,400 criminal arrests, and the seizure of over 421 million lethal doses of fentanyl.
“What we’re doing right now is securing the border at the border, what these buoys will allow us to do is to prevent people from even getting to the border,” Gov. Abbot said in a June press conference introducing the marine barrier system
“Anytime they get in the water, it’s a risk to the migrants. This is the deterrent from even coming in the water,” Abbot said.
“Nobody needs to be coming between the ports of entry, it’s dangerous,” said Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steven McCraw during the June press conference.
“Family units that come across the river between the ports of entry are risking themselves and their family members,” McCraw said.
The buoy barrier is not a new invention, a similar strategy was considered by the Trump administration in 2020.
“Biden’s reckless open border policies led to the release of a TERRORIST on the watch list,” Abbot said. “Border Patrol agents are overwhelmed and stuck pushing paper because Biden opened the floodgates.”
“We are not unique when it comes to the struggles that we’re facing with the number of people that are coming over the border,” said Portland Mayor Kate Snyder after the migrant protest at the Portland Exposition Building on June 28.
“What we’ve talked about with our Congressional delegation is, let’s make sure that we have capacity for people before they’re sent here and they’re outside,” Snyder said, adding that the city’s officials are trying to be “responsible” in their consistent communication with state and federal leadership.