The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has placed a temporary stay on the removal of Texas’ floating barriers in the Rio Grande on the border with Mexico. 

The United States Court of Appeals did seem to agree with the lower court though, saying that the barriers are an “impairment to free and safe navigation.”

Last week, a lower court judge, David Alan Ezra, directed Texas to remove the barriers. Ezra wrote that Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) needed permission from the federal government to place the floating barriers. 

“Governor Abbott announced that he was not ‘asked for permission’ for Operation Lone Star, the anti-immigration program under which Texas constructed the floating barrier. Unfortunately for Texas, Permission is exactly what federal law requires before installing obstructions in the nation’s navigable waters,” Ezra wrote in his ruling.

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Abbott’s decision to place the floating barrier in the Rio Grande was made in July as a part of Operation Lone Star. Shortly after his decision, the Justice Department sued the state of Texas. The department stated that the placement of the barrier was unlawful and needed to be removed by the state. 

The lawsuit claimed that Texas had violated the Rivers and Harbors Appropriation Act. The act states, “That the creation of any abstraction not affirmatively authorized by Congress, to the navigable capacity of any of the waters of the United States is hereby prohibited.”

While the lawsuit is momentarily being paused, Texas continues to keep the floating barriers in place, Allowing Operation Lone Star to block migrants from entering the United States from Mexico.


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