AUSTIN, Texas — A federal judge will determine whether or not Texas can keep a floating barrier on the U.S.-Mexico border.
The Biden administration and Mexico are fighting against Gov. Greg Abbott's latest move to keep migrants from crossing. Texas is being sued by the Justice Department, which worries the barrier could impact relations with Mexico.
At a hearing on Tuesday, the U.S. brought in two witnesses: Joseph Shelnutt, who works with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and Hillary Quam, who works for the State Department.
Shelnutt reviews unauthorized activities in the U.S. and noticed a structure was impeding human movement across the river, taking a photograph of it. Quam is a coordinator for the U.S.-Mexico border and has concerns about how the barriers could impact the relationship with our neighbors, mentioning that Mexico's president has raised the topic of buoy barriers six times in his daily press conference since June.
They called the barriers a treaty violation and said Mexico is sensitive about sovereignty issues, worried it will be seen as a lesser power. Advocates rallied outside the courthouse before the hearing while Abbott remains firm on his decision.
"It pushes people out into the deep water, pushes women and children into the deep water. [A] mom died along with her two children. Men and women have drowned. They have trailers, cold storage trailers, for the bodies in Eagle Pass. The blood of those people is on Greg Abbott's hands," State Sen. Roland Gutierrez said.
"Twenty-five governors and 25 states, half of the states of the United States of America, are banding together to secure a border that President Biden has abandoned," Abbott said.
The last witness was Loren Flossman, who was brought in by the defense. He is retired from Border Patrol and now works for Cochrane International. He was questioned about the position of the buoys, saying they are on the U.S. side of the river.
The deadline for closings is Friday at 4 p.m. Judge David Ezra said he will make his decision as soon as possible.