Gov. Abbott Gets Into It With the Department of Justice

( – The immigration crisis along the Southern border is still an issue more than two years into President Joe Biden’s first term. Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R) is one of the administration’s most vocal critics and has taken measures to secure his state into his own hands. He’s once again in a battle with the Department of Justice (DOJ).

On July 24, the DOJ sued Texas after Abbott failed to heed a warning that he must remove floating buoys on the Rio Grande. The lawsuit claims the governor is violating the River and Harbors Act, which prohibits states from placing obstructions in the water without the federal government’s approval. The DOJ had previously warned the governor that he had until the 24th to remove the barriers. In addition to the buoys, Abbott has ordered the stringing of razor wire across the area.

Federal officials previously called the obstructions unlawful and said they presented “humanitarian concerns” and could damage the environment. Some argued the barriers are forcing migrants into deeper water, putting them in more danger.

Vanita Gupta, the associate attorney general, said the state has “flouted federal law” by adding the barriers without the government’s permission. Abbott is also accused of risking damage to America’s foreign policy because Mexico has protested the barrier.

Abbott responded to the administration’s requests in a letter the day the lawsuit was filed. The governor contended he was within his rights under the Constitution to protect his borders. He cited the late Justice Antonin Scalia’s dissenting opinion in the Supreme Court case Arizona v. United States. In that case, Arizona tried to implement its own immigration law like Abbott is attempting to do, and the high court struck it down. He went on to argue the state is not violating the Rivers and Harbors Act because his structures aren’t defined in the law.

“Texas will see you in court, Mr. President,” the response stated.

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