Texas will soon deploy a long chain of large buoys in the middle of the Rio Grande to deter illegal immigrants from crossing the southern border.
Gov. Greg Abbott said the first 1,000-foot floating barrier would be placed in the river at one of the crossing hot spots near Eagle Pass in Maverick County. Eagle Pass is about 145 miles southwest of San Antonio.
“We’re securing the border at the border,” Abbott said during a press conference at the state Capitol in Austin on June 8.
“What these buoys will allow us to do is prevent people from getting to the border.”
The initial floating barrier is expected to be installed on July 7, the governor’s office confirmed in an email to The Epoch Times.
The Republican governor’s announcement followed the signing of several bills to strengthen security at the border.
“Even though we’ve done a lot, we recognize that more must be done. Importantly, the Legislature has recognized that also, and they stepped up to begin with $5.1 billion for Texas to do even more to secure our border,” Abbott told reporters.
During the previous session, the state allocated $4.5 billion for border security, bringing the biennial budgeted total to $9.6 billion.
“Texas is spending close to $10 billion to deal with the crisis and chaos caused by the Biden administration,” Abbott said.
The first installation of the water-based barrier will cost “under $1 million,” said Col. Steven McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety.
How the Barriers Work
The floating barrier is made up of interconnected rotating buoys that range in height from 4 to 6 feet, depending on the depth of the water where they are deployed.
“This is the deterrent for even coming in the water,” McCraw said.
“This has been tested a number of times, a number of ways by special operators, tactical operators, specialists with Border Patrol.”
McCraw said that because of the water and buoyancy, it’s very difficult to get through the buoys.
“There’s ways to overcome it, but it takes great effort. It takes specialized skills and equipment to do it,” he said.
McCraw explained that in the same way that the razor wire can be moved to various areas, the buoys are also mobile and can be gathered and moved to another part of the river as needed.
“It’s something we can do quickly,” he said. “We can put it there, and it deters the large groups of people from moving in that area.”
There is also webbing that will be anchored to the bottom of the river to prevent people from swimming under the barrier to the other side.
Images of the large buoys—created by the perimeter security company Cochrane USA—were on display during the press conference.
McCraw said safety was one of the biggest concerns when border patrol was testing the efficacy of the barriers.
“We don’t want anyone to get hurt,” the DPS chief told reporters. “In fact, we want to prevent people from getting hurt and prevent people from drowning.”
McCraw said that any time migrants decide to cross the river between the ports of entry, they are putting themselves and their family members in harm’s way.
“The only one that benefits, the only one that is enabled and empowered, is the Mexican cartels when that happens,” he continued.
The governor signed into law six bills passed by lawmakers during the 88th legislative session, which ended May 29.
“Thanks to the leadership and hard work of Director McCraw, General [Thomas] Suelzer, and their teams, Texas has pushed back against the swell of migrants and held the line to keep people out of Texas—but there’s more to be done,” Abbott said in a press release.
Abbott signed the following bills into law:
Senate Bill 423 authorizes the Texas military to use drones for search and rescue missions after natural disasters and for monitoring the Texas-Mexico border (pdf).
Senate Bill 602 expands the authority of border patrol agents to include arrest, search, and seizure at border checkpoints and points of entry for felony offenses under Texas law. Agents are only allowed to detain certain individuals under current law (pdf).
Senate Bill 1122 creates a grant program to compensate agriculture landowners up to $75,000 for damage caused to their property by border crimes (pdf).
Senate Bill 1403 allows the governor to coordinate and execute an interstate compact with other states without seeking congressional approval (pdf).
Senate Bill 1484 creates a collaboration between DPS and local law enforcement agencies to share expertise in the fight against transnational criminal activities (pdf).
Senate Bill 1900 designates Mexican drug cartels and criminal organizations as foreign terrorists. It increases the penalties for the distribution of illegal drugs and those operating stash houses. And it adds foreign terrorist organizations to intelligence databases (pdf).
Crisis at the border
In March 2021, the governor launched Operation Lone Star, a multi-agency effort to stop illegal crossings, drug smuggling, and human smuggling at the Texas-Mexico border.
Since its inception, Operation Lone Star has apprehended more than 381,000 illegal immigrants entering the country. Nearly 30,000 people have been arrested, with more than 26,000 felony charges reported, the governor’s office said.
“Washington D.C. has failed to do its job to secure our border,” Abbott told reporters. “As a result, Texas has had to take unprecedented steps in responding to the border.”
Thu, 06/15/2023 – 21:30