Undeterred by liberal opposition, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has his state moving forward with its plan to install a barrier in the Rio Grande to deter illegal immigrants.
“New marine barrier installation on the Rio Grande begins today. Texas DPS is overseeing the project in Eagle Pass. More to come,” he wrote in a Twitter post Friday.
Abbott announced the plan for a mobile, floating barrier last month.
“This strategy will proactively prevent illegal crossings between ports of entry by making it more difficult to cross the Rio Grande and reach the Texas side of the southern border,” Abbott said then.
However, the plan drew fire from attorney David Donatti with the ACLU of Texas
“The chain of buoys along the Rio Grande is just the latest in a chain of gifts from the state to private contractors to fuel the governor’s manufactured crisis at the border,” he said, according to CNN.
“The floating balls will not address the real and important reasons people are coming to the United States. The buoys are a blight on Texas’s moral conscience,” he said.
“We don’t want anybody to get hurt. In fact, we want to prevent people from getting hurt, prevent people from drowning, and this a proactive way,” he said at a news conference Thursday, according to CNN.
The barriers, which arrived in the community of Eagle Pass on Friday, should be in place in about two weeks, Chris Olivarez, a representative of the Texas Department of Public Safety said, according to The Associated Press.
The buoys will float on the surface and have webbing attached below to deter attempts to swim beneath them. They will also be anchored to the river bottom.
The Border Patrol sector that includes Eagle Pass has had the second-highest number of illegal immigrants crossing into Texas this year, the AP reported.
The plan will face a legal challenge, according to The Hill.
Jessie Fuentes, owner of Epi’s Canoe & Kayak Team, has filed a lawsuit claiming that he would be unable to give tours on the Rio Grande, causing his company “imminent and irreparable harm.”
He claimed he has already been forced to cancel tours and had issues with access to the river.