Greg Abbott

String of large buoys to deter migrants from crossing the Rio Grande into Texas

Water barrier to be installed in Maverick County, near Eagle Pass, early next month

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Texas will spend about $1 million to deploy a long string of buoys in the Rio Grande River to deter migrants from crossing the border near Eagle Pass.

Gov. Greg Abbott (R) announced the plan Thursday after signing border security legislation passed during the 88th regular legislative session, adding that state lawmakers provided $5.1 billion to pay for the state's ongoing effort to secure the border.

The governor said the state will continue to employ whatever strategies are effective to prevent migrants from crossing the border and said Thursday that could now include "mile after mile after mile" of an inflatable barrier.

"We're securing the border at the border," Abbott said. "What these buoys will allow us to do is prevent people from even getting to the border."

Texas DPS Director Col. Steve McCraw said the first 1,000 feet of buoys will be strung together in the Rio Grande in Maverick County, near Eagle Pass, on July 7, in an area often used by smugglers.

McCraw said the buoys sit about 4 feet above the water and can be anchored to the riverbed below with webbing to prevent someone from swimming underneath. McCraw said testing done by DPS special operators confirmed it was very difficult to go over or through the buoys and that overcoming the barrier takes great effort, specialized skills and equipment.

"We don't want anyone to get hurt. In fact, we want to prevent people from getting hurt. We want to prevent people from drowning and this is a proactive way," said McCraw. "We don't want people to come across and continue to put themselves at risk when they go between the ports of entry."

Texas Department of Public Safety
The state of Texas plans to deploy a 1,000 feet string of buoys in the Rio Grande River near Eagle Pass to deter migrant crossings.

Abbott said the barrier will be deployed strategically, as needed, but did not reveal any other locations where they plan to install the floating barrier.

"One of the goals is to slow down and deter as many of them [migrants] as possible. Some may eventually get to the border where they are going to face that multi-layer razor wire and the full force of Natural Guard and DPS officers which they will not be allowed to pass," Abbott said. "They both know they have one instruction, do not allow anybody to enter into the state of Texas, period."

Dallas Morning News writer Aaron Torres discusses Texas' plan to deploy buous in the middle of the Rio Grande River in a new effort to deter migrants from making dangerous water crossings.
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