Abbott announces ‘floating barriers’ to deter migrants along the Rio Grande

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Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) on Thursday announced the state will deploy “marine floating barriers” aimed at deterring migrants along the Rio Grande River.

“This is a new water-based barrier: buoys. We can put mile, after mile, after mile of these buoys,” Abbott said during a press conference. “We’re securing the border at the border. What these buoys will allow us to do is to prevent people from even getting to the border.”

Texas will put up “marine floating barriers to deter illegal crossings in hotspots” along the river, the governor’s office said. Abbott said installation is starting “pretty much immediately.”

An initial 1,000 feet of the barrier is set to go up near Eagle Pass, which Texas Department of Public Safety director Steven McCraw said is “the center of gravity for smuggling.”

“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’s office said.

McCraw said at the press conference that there will also be “webbing” beneath the buoys to deter swimming below.

Abbott signed six bills Thursday related to border security, including legislation to expand the authority of some U.S. Border Patrol agents and to “coordinate and execute an interstate compact for border security among interested states without congressional approval,” among other things.

The Texas governor has asked fellow governors for assistance with “Texas’s unprecedented border security efforts,” citing the Emergency Management Assistance Compact, a national interstate mutual aid agreement. He briefed a group of governors last month on what the Texas office called “the ongoing crisis” at the U.S.-Mexico border.

He has also been part of a move by Republican governors to bus thousands of migrants north to Democrat-led cities in protest of the situation at the border.

The governor tweeted last month that Texas alone had sent more than 18,500 migrants to the “sanctuary cities.”

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