Justice Department, Texas to square off over buoys wrapped in razor wire

Jul 25, 2023, 8:00 PM

Dozens of large buoys that are set to be deployed in the Rio Grande are unloaded, Friday, July 7, 2...

Dozens of large buoys that are set to be deployed in the Rio Grande are unloaded, Friday, July 7, 2023, in Eagle Pass, Texas, where border crossings continue to place stress on local resources. Advocates have raised concern that the barriers may have an adverse environmental impact. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

(AP Photo/Eric Gay)

SALT LAKE CITY — Earlier this month, Texas Governor Greg Abbott ordered the placement of orange buoys wrapped in razor wire in the Rio Grande. This was done in an attempt to keep immigrants from being able to cross the border into the Lone Star State. 

On Monday, the Justice Department filed a lawsuit against Texas over the tactic. According to ABC News, the Biden administration says the use of buoys raises environmental and humanitarian concerns.

The Justice Department is bringing the case to court under the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899

KSL NewsRadio Legal Analyst Greg Skordas shares some thoughts on the case.


“But I think the people of Texas are saying, ‘Look, we’re not putting a dam on the Rio Grande, or we’re not diverting it to make room for houses or railways’ we’re just putting buoys up,'” Skordas said. “And states, of course, do that all the time.”

Buoys with razor wire creates a hazard

Skordas is asked what he thinks of razor wire being used as a prevention?

“Well, what that adds is a different level of it’s not just a deterrence anymore,” he said. “It’s a danger. I mean people will get caught up in that and could very well drown.”

Skordas goes on to say that the razor wire could give the Justice Department an advantage in its case.

“Who knows what else could happen,” he said. “So, I don’t understand. I mean, the buoys themselves, if you look at them, they’re huge and they go into the water over a foot. …. It’s impossible to get over them or under them. But then to add the razor wire, which is really makes them really dangerous. (It) may give the Justice Department a little more of a leg up in its lawsuit and to get those removed.”

According to ABC News, this portion of the Rio Grande is roughly 1,000 feet wide. 

“So, I don’t know why this particular stretch is blocked off,” Skordas said. “Except that it seems to be a very, very popular passageway.”

Skordas says Texas could be facing some trouble with this lawsuit. 

“But I also think the governor there is frustrated with the administration,” he said. “Saying, ‘Look, if you’re not going to do something, building a wall, or adding new agents or doing whatever, I’m going to do it myself.'”

Dave & Dujanovic can be heard weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app, as well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play.  

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Justice Department, Texas to square off over buoys wrapped in razor wire