Texas may provisionally keep its floating river barriers in place in the Rio Grande after a US appeals court temporarily shut down Thursdayto do so, the state would have to remove the controversial shackles, which are intended to deter migrants from crossing the US-Mexico border.
At the request of Texas, the New Orleans-based Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals issued an administrative stay of Wednesday’s ruling by senior U.S. District Judge David Ezra while the appeals process continues.
Ezra had issued a preliminary injunction directing Texan officials to remove the floating border barriers in the middle of the Rio Grande before September 15, at the state’s own expense. He also banned the state from erecting similar structures in the middle of the Rio Grande.
Thursday’s adjournment will remain in effect until the appeals court issues its own ruling on the merits of Texas’ request to stay the lower court’s ruling.
The Biden administration filed a lawsuit over the barriers in late July, which was approved by Texas Governor Greg Abbot. The Justice Department argued that Texas needed permission from the federal government to set them up, and that the state had failed to acquire them. The government also said the structures prevented border police from patrolling the border, endangered migrants and harmed US-Mexico relations.
Ezra concluded that Texas needed permission from the US Army Corps of Engineers to place the barriers in the river.
In his ruling, however, Ezra said he ordered Texas state officials to move the floating barriers from the middle of the Rio Grande to the riverbank on the American side, rather than ordering them to be “completely removed from the river.” .
The shackles mark the latest flashpoint in a two-year political feud between the Biden administration and Abbott, which has accused the federal government of not doing enough to deter migrants from illegally crossing the southern border.
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