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Federal Judge Appears Skeptical of Texas’ Rio Grande “Border Buoys” Program

— August 23, 2023

U.S. District Judge David Ezra appears to have brushed state officials’ arguments of a border “invasion” aside, telling them, “I not here to engage in—nor do I have any inclination to engage in—any type of political comment.”

A federal judge has largely dismissed Texas’ claims that Gov. Greg Abbott has the right to install barbed wire-covered buoys in the Rio Grande to stave off a migrant “invasion.”

As has reported before, the U.S. Department of Justice recently filed a lawsuit against the Lone Star State, arguing that its novel border protection initiatives violate federal and international law.

“The State of Texas’ actions violate federal law, raise humanitarian concerns, present serious risks to public safety and the environment, and may interfere with the federal government’s ability to carry out its official duties,” Justice Department attorneys wrote in a July 2023 letter to Gov. Abbott.

During an initial hearing, attorneys for Texas tried telling the court that the border state had the right to protect its territorial integrity and the safety of its citizens.

However, the court appears to have taken a different stance, brushing off the state’s claims as bad-faith attempts at political posturing.

“This court is not going to delve into political questions,” U.S. District Judge David Ezra said after an initial hearing.

Ezra, who was appointed by former President Ronald Reagan, declined to rule on the Department of Justice’s request for a preliminary injunction against buoys.

Pictured: A U.S. Border Patrol vehicle along the the US-Mexico border. Image via Pixnio/Public Domain.

A ruling, writes The Dallas Morning Daily News, is not expected for at least a week.

But, on Tuesday, Ezra signaled that he would not be receptive to one of Texas’ most critical arguments—that the U.S. Constitution affords it the right to defend its sovereignty amidst a foreign “invasion.”

“We are here for the purposes of determining whether this is a barrier to navigation, whether this is a navigable waterway,” Ezra said.

Ezra’s comments, suggests the Morning Daily News, indicate that any eventual ruling will most likely be limited in scope, insofar as he will not attempt to define the extent of individual states’ immigration enforcement rights.

CBS News notes that the full effects of Gov. Abbott’s “Operation Lone Star” program have yet to be seen.

Federal officials have already observed that many of the barbed wire-covered buoys have floated across the Rio Grande, with more than 80% estimated to be on the Mexican side of the river.

One way or the other, Ezra insisted that his court “is not Congress, and it is not the president.”

“I am not here to engage in—nor do I have any inclination to engage in—any type of political comment,” Ezra said.


Federal judge rejects Texas’ migrant ‘invasion’ defense in DOJ lawsuit over border buoys

Judge in federal lawsuit over buoys in Rio Grande says politics will not affect his rulings

Justice Department Files Complaint Against the State of Texas for Illegally Placing Floating Buoy Barrier in the Rio Grande

Texas defends border buoys at hearing over Justice Department lawsuit

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