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Texas Gov. Abbott defends floating border wall, despite lawsuit

"It's called operation hold the line," said Abbott. "They are holding the line and ensuring that nobody enters the state of Texas illegally."

Texas Governor Greg Abbott
Texas Governor Greg Abbott | Shutterstock

July 31, 2023 8:46am

Updated: July 31, 2023 8:46am

Texas Governor Greg Abbott on Friday defended the floating border wall being installed in the Rio Grande River after the state was sued by the Justice Department for the measure.

“I will do whatever I have to do to defend our state from the invasion of the Mexican drug cartels and others who have tried to come into our country illegally, and I will protect our sovereignty,” the governor said while addressing the state’s Republican county chairs in Georgetown on Friday, according to Fox 7.

In mid-July. Texas began installing a new floating barrier made up of four-foot-wide buoys in the Rio Grande River near the city of Eagle Pass, Texas, across from the U.S.-Mexico border. The bright orange buoys are designed to prevent anyone from crossing over them or under them. 

Abbott has claimed that the barrier is meant to prevent thousands of undocumented migrants from entering the country illegally amid a “record-breaking level” of migration. 

"It's called Operation Hold the Line," said Abbott. "They are holding the line and ensuring that nobody enters the state of Texas illegally."

Earlier last week, the U.S. Justice Department sued the state of Texas over the wall, claiming that Abbott installed the structure without obtaining the proper authorization to do so. 

Additionally, the lawsuit claims that the “floating barrier poses threats to navigation and public safety and presents humanitarian concerns."

"I challenge the federal government to show that they have spent that much money in the state of Texas on the border under Joe Biden as president," Abbott said in response to the lawsuit.

“He gave me a lawsuit, and by God, Joe Biden, we will see you in court,” the governor added. 

The government of Mexico also filed a complaint with the Biden administration concerning the floating border wall. According to Mexico, the barrier might be violating boundaries and water treaties between the two countries. 

A Texas Kayaking company filed a lawsuit against the barrier after it claimed that the wall would prevent it from giving kayak tours in the Rio Grande River and would cause “imminent and irreparable harm” to the company.