Appeals court lets Texas leave floating barrier in Rio Grande for now

A federal appeals court Thursday put on hold a judge’s order from earlier this week requiring Texas Gov. Greg Abbott to remove a floating barrier from the middle of the Rio Grande.

The 5th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals allowed Abbott, a Republican, to leave in place for now the 1,000-foot barrier the state installed to deter illegal migrant crossings. The order was issued by a three-judge panel of two Democratic appointees and a Republican appointee.

Wednesday, U.S. District Judge David Ezra had ordered that the barrier moved out of the main waterway to the bank of the Rio Grande on the Texas side by Sept. 15, granting the Justice Department’s request for a preliminary injunction while the case is litigated.

Spokespeople for the Justice Department and Abbott’s office did not immediately respond to requests for comment Thursday night.

Lawyers for Texas have characterized illegal crossings at the southern border as an invasion that the state has a right to defend against.

“The buoys were deployed under the Governor’s constitutional authority to defend Texas from transnational-criminal-cartel invasion,” they wrote in a motion Thursday. “Moving the buoys exacerbates dangers to migrants enticed to cross the border unlawfully, and to Texans harmed by human trafficking, drug smuggling, and unchecked



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