Migrants seeking asylum rest on an island while trying to cross the Rio Grande River into the United States on July 18, 2023 in Eagle Pass, Texas.

Brandon Bell | Getty Images

The Justice Department sued Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott on Monday floating barrier which the state placed on the Rio Grande to prevent migrants from crossing into the US from Mexico.

The lawsuit asks the court to force Texas to remove a roughly 1,000-foot-long row of bright orange wrecking ball-sized buoys that the Biden administration says it raises humanitarian and environmental concerns. The suit also alleges that Texas illegally installed a barrier without a permit near the border town of Eagle Pass.

There are buoys the latest escalation of the Texas border security operation it also includes razor wire fencing, arresting migrants on charges of illegal entry and sending busloads of asylum seekers to democratically run cities in other states.

In anticipation of the lawsuit, Abbott sent a letter to President Joe Biden on Monday defending Texas’ right to install the barrier. He accused Biden of putting migrants at risk by not doing more to discourage them from traveling to the US

“Texas will see you in court, Mr. President,” Abbott wrote in his letter.

The Biden administration said illegal border crossings have dropped significantly since the new immigration rules entered into force in May.

The Justice Department warned Texas in a letter last week that the state has until Monday to commit to removing the barrier or face a lawsuit. The letter said the buoy wall “poses a risk to navigation and public safety in the Rio Grande River and poses a humanitarian concern.”

The state deployed buoys without warning International Boundary and Water Commission or US Army Corps of Engineers. Mexico’s foreign minister has asked the federal government to intervene because the barrier violates international treaties.

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