(Austin, Texas)—On the eve of a federal court hearing in Austin on Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s use of buoys in the Rio Grande River to deter migrants, Abbott attempted a media stunt to draw attention away from the hearing.
“Gov. Abbott has decided to shield himself with other anti-immigrant governors by posing in a public park in Eagle Pass that has been turned into a militarized zone, complete with concertina wire, law enforcement vehicles and drones flying overhead,” said Senior Texas Strategist Carolina Canizales. “His news conference today is nothing but a ploy to keep attention away from Tuesday’s court hearing.”
The hearing concerns a lawsuit filed by the Department of Justice alleging Abbott violated federal law by installing the buoys. DOJ also asked for the buoys to be removed promptly.
The lawsuit cites the Rivers and Harbors Appropriation Act of 1899, which bars the “creation of any obstruction not affirmatively authorized by Congress, to the navigable capacity of any of the waters of the United States.”
Eagle Pass and other border residents protested Abbott’s stunt.
“I recently learned the name of the young man that drowned because of Gov.Abbott’s useless river barriers. It made me sick to my stomach to learn that other governors are standing for this cruelty and support this violence against our communities,” said Robie Flores of Eagle Pass and co-founder of the Eagle Pass Border Coalition. “Eagle Pass is a loving and peaceful community, Operation Lone Star has deeply harmed us and the cruelty has to stop.”
The ILRC, along with other advocates and border residents, will be holding a news conference and rally in front of the federal courthouse in Austin on Tuesday, and plan to attend the hearing.
The Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC) is a national nonprofit that works with immigrants, community organizations, legal professionals, and policy makers to build a democratic society that values diversity and the rights of all people. Through community education programs, legal training & technical assistance, and policy development & advocacy, the ILRC works to protect and defend the fundamental rights of immigrant families and communities.