Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced Thursday that Texas will immediately begin the process of securing its border with Mexico with a “water-based barrier” of buoys in the Rio Grande.
“We’re securing the border at the border,” the Republican governor said at a news conference Thursday. “What these buoys will allow us to do is to prevent people from even getting to the border.”
Abbott said that the Texas Legislature appropriated $5.1 billion to secure the border and that Steve McCraw, the director of the Department of Public Safety, and Thomas Suelzer, a general in the National Guard, “came together to employ this strategy.”
“Today, public enemy number one are the Mexican cartels,” McCraw said at the news conference. “The most powerful and ruthless and violent criminal organization in the world right now. They impact every community in Texas.”
McCraw said the first 1,000 feet of buoys will be placed along the river by Eagle Pass, which borders Piedras Negras, Coahuila, Mexico.
McCraw said “nobody” should try to get into the U.S. between the ports of entrance, calling it “dangerous” and a risk to migrants’ lives.
“We don’t want anybody to get hurt,” he said. “In fact, we want to prevent people from getting hurt, prevent people from drowning.”
David Donatti, an attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas, said in a statement to HuffPost that the buoys will not address anything real.
“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. “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.”
When asked for a comment, Abbott’s office directed HuffPost to a news release that said the buoys “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.”
The DPS didn’t immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for comment.
At the beginning of the news conference, before signing several bills about securing the border into law, Abbott said the federal government had failed to secure Texas’ border with Mexico.
“As a result, Texas has had to take unprecedented steps in responding to the crisis caused by the Biden administration on the border. And in response, the Texas Legislature has stepped up to make sure that we will be able to more robustly respond.”