Two Bodies Found in Rio Grande Amid Texas Floating Barrier Controversy

The Mexican government reported that two dead migrants were recovered from the Rio Grande river, one of them stuck in the floating barrier installed by Texas to deter border crossings.

Two Bodies Found in Rio Grande

Floating barrier violates sovereignty and human rights, Mexico says

The Mexican Foreign Affairs Secretary said in a press release that the Mexican Consulate in Eagle Pass was notified on Wednesday afternoon by the Texas Department of Public Safety about the discovery of a body along the floating barrier. The nationality of the deceased and the cause of death were unknown.

The press release also said that an assistance unit with the Mexican National Institute of Migration found a second body about three miles upriver. The two bodies were recovered and the process of identification was underway.

The Foreign Affairs Secretary condemned the buoys following the body’s discovery. “We reiterate the position of the Mexican Government that the placement of the buoys from Texas authorities is a violation of our sovereignty,” the press release said in Spanish. “We express our concerns that these policies will have over the impact on human rights and the safety of migrants.”

Texas governor defends border security operation

The floating barrier is part of Operation Lone Star, a controversial border security initiative launched by Texas Governor Greg Abbott in June. The thousand-foot string of red buoys was installed in Eagle Pass last month as an effort to block migrants from entering Texas from Mexico.

Eagle Pass has become a heavily crossed section of the Rio Grande in recent years. According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, more than 188,000 migrants were encountered along the southwest border in June, a 21% increase from May and the highest monthly number in more than two decades.

Abbott has defended his operation as a response to the “open border policies” of the Biden administration, which he accused of “abandoning” Texas and failing to secure the border. He has also announced plans to build a state-funded border wall and arrest migrants on trespassing charges.

U.S. Justice Department sues Texas over floating barrier

The U.S. Justice Department filed a lawsuit against Texas last month over Abbott’s refusal to remove the barrier, which stretches the length of three football fields. The lawsuit argues that the barrier raises humanitarian and environmental concerns, as well as interferes with federal immigration enforcement and international treaties.

In affidavits released as part of the filing, Mexican officials expressed concerns that the buoys could lead to a loss of life and provoke an international incident. They also said that the barrier has already caused significant harm in diplomatic foreign relations between the two countries.

The area around Eagle Pass where the buoys have been installed is a hot spot for border crossings and an already dangerous part of the Rio Grande to cross. According to a report by Human Rights Watch, at least 493 people died while crossing the U.S.-Mexico border in 2020, many of them drowning in the river or dying from dehydration or exposure.

The lawsuit seeks a court order to force Texas to remove the barrier and refrain from installing any similar obstacles in the future. The case is pending before a federal judge in San Antonio.

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