Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced Thursday that a “new water-based buoy barrier” will soon be installed on the Texas-Mexico border, after signing several laws related to border security.
Abbott said in a statement that these laws, and the buoy barrier on the Rio Grande, will protect Texans and serve to prevent the record level of illegal immigration, deadly weapons and drugs from entering the Texas from Mexico caused by President Biden's refusal to secure the border”.
The border security package I signed into law today will strengthen Texas' historic response to President Biden's border crisis.— Gov. Greg Abbott (@GovAbbott) June 8, 2023
Thanks to the leadership of @TXMilitary and @TxDPS and robust support from the Texas Legislature, #OperationLoneStar continues to hold the line. pic.twitter.com/3K92RJjo9B
The six-bill bill includes a measure that expands the authority of Border Patrol agents to search and arrest felony suspects established by Texas law at checkpoints under the command of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and is the largest federal law enforcement agency in the US Department of Homeland Security and among its Tasks include arresting felony suspects attempting to enter the United States.
Another measure authorizes the Texas military to use drones to monitor the Texas-Mexico border.
It also designates Mexican drug cartels and criminal groups as foreign terrorist organizations in the state of Texas, and increases state penalties for crimes committed by these groups.
The package of The law also allows the governor of Texas to coordinate and execute border security compacts with other states without the approval of the US Congress.
Abbott said at a news conference that he has signed the laws “to ensure that Texas can continue to do even more to stop illegal immigration” and provide new tools “to protect Texans and Americans from the chaos and crisis of the border”.
Since President Joe Biden took office in 2021, Abbott has accused the Democratic administration of “keeping the doors open at the border” and causing a crisis “ ;unprecedented.”
Floating barrier on the Rio Grande
The Republican also announced on Thursday the installation of floating barriers to prevent illegal crossings at critical points along the Rio Grande (Rio Grande in Mexico) border.
“These buoys will allow us to prevent people from reaching the border,” he said.
The first 1,000 feet of the floating barrier will be deployed near Eagle Pass in Maverick County.
A user commented on Twitter that he remembered seeing those floating sea barriers before, in a proposal to use them at the border:
I remember looking into Cochrane's "Marine Floating Barrier" back in 2020 when the Border Patrol Academy's Chief posted about a demonstration.— Aaron Reichlin-Melnick (@ReichlinMelnick) June 8, 2023
I guess their sales pitch went over better with Texas than the Border Patrol. Spikes not included, apparently. https://t.co/x5Qf7fyPcq
Texas Department of Public Safety Director Col. Steven McCraw said the buoys can be deployed quickly and are mobile.
Abbott expects the Texas Senate to pass another new package of laws on immigration and border security.
One of his main proposals, which sought to create a “mandatory jail sentence of at least 10 years for anyone caught smuggling illegal immigrants into Texas,” was defeated in the Texas House.
Latino organizations were quick to criticize the bill. Dani Marrero Hi, deputy director of La Unión del Pueblo Entero (LUPE), said in a statement today that Abbott preferred to invest state resources in financing “useless” operations on the border rather than addressing the state's urgent infrastructure needs.
The activist also condemned the state leadership for not prioritizing the well-being of families and individuals at the border over political games and “made for TV” tactics.