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Texas’ Floating Barrier Between US and Mexico on Rio Grande Can Stay, Appeals Court Says in Reversal


Wednesday saw a federal appeals court overturning a prior directive that ordered Texas to relocate a floating barrier on the Rio Grande, leading to increased tensions with Mexico. This event represents the latest episode in the ongoing legal confrontations between the Biden administration and Texas Governor Greg Abbott, a Republican, concerning the regulation of migration at the border.

In December, a divided panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had endorsed a federal district judge in Texas who advocated for the relocation of the buoys. However, on Wednesday, the court annulled the panel’s 2-1 ruling after a majority vote by its 17 active judges to rehear the case.

The interconnected series of concrete-anchored buoys, spanning roughly the length of three soccer fields, was strategically placed by the state along the international border with Mexico, spanning from the Texas border city of Eagle Pass to Piedras Negras, Coahuila.

This barrier has emerged as a focal point in the broader legal disputes over border control involving Democratic President Joe Biden and Governor Abbott. Simultaneously, the Biden administration is entangled in legal battles to gain the authority to dismantle razor-wire fencing at the border and regain access to a city park at the border, which the state had fenced off.

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