Courts & Litigation States & Localities

Texas Ordered to Remove Barriers in Rio Grande by Sept. 15

Anna Hickey
Wednesday, September 6, 2023, 5:38 PM
The state will need to remove the buoy barrier intended to prevent immigrants from crossing the Rio Grande River.

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On Sept. 6, U.S. District Court Judge Ezra granted the federal government's request for a preliminary injunction against Texas Gov. Greg Abott in its suit over the construction of barriers in the Rio Grande River. The order requires the state to stop constructing "buoys, blockades or structures of any kind in the Rio Grande River" and remove all current structures by Sept. 15 at its own expense. The order requires that the barrier be moved to the riverbank to allow for navigation in the river.

The judge finds that the government will likely succeed on the merits of the case under Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Appropriation Act, which prohibits the creation of structures in any navigable water that do not have a permit from the Army Corps of Engineers. He writes that “Texas strains credulity with its argument that the floating barrier is not permanent enough to constitute a structure” and that “it is in violation of Section 10 of the RHA.” 

Read the decision here or below.

Anna Hickey is the associate editor for communications of Lawfare. She holds a B.A. in interdisciplinary studies: communications, legal studies, economics, and government with a minor in international studies from American University.

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