Rio Grande buoys mostly in Mexican waters, survey finds

The majority of the floating barrier that the state of Texas installed in the Rio Grande lies in Mexican waters, according to a recent survey conducted by the International Boundary and Water Commission.

Of the 995 feet of buoys in the Rio Grande, about 787 feet lie in Mexican territory and the remaining 208 feet lie in U.S. territory, the topographical survey filed in court Tuesday found.

The survey was filed as part of the Justice Department’s lawsuit against the Lone Star State over the floating barrier, which the government has argued is unconstitutional, poses significant humanitarian concerns and jeopardizes U.S.-Mexico relations.

The barrier, which is designed to block migrants from crossing into the U.S. via the Rio Grande, was put in place in early July shortly after four migrants, including an infant, drowned trying to cross the river.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) dismissed the Justice Department’s request to remove the buoys in late July, arguing they deter potentially dangerous efforts to cross the Rio Grande.

“While I share the humanitarian concerns noted in your lawyers’ letter, Mr. President, your finger points in the wrong direction,” Abbott said in response. “Neither of us wants to see another death in the Rio Grande River.” 

“Yet your open-border policies encourage migrants to risk their lives by crossing illegally through the water, instead of safely and legally at a port of entry,” he added.

However, after two bodies were found near the buoys earlier this month, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador slammed the barrier as “inhumane.”

“No one should be treated like this. That kind of treatment does not come from a good person. Only by being good can we be happy,” he said at a press briefing at the time, adding, “Abbott shouldn’t act like that; it’s inhumane.”

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