The Department of Justice failed to make a convincing case that Texas had violated any laws when it erected a buoy barrier in the Rio Grande River to deter illegal migrant crossings, according to experts at the Texas Public Policy Foundation who attended a recent hearing.

“The case appears to hinge on whether the section of the river with the buoys is considered ‘navigable,’” said Carine Martinez, Campaign Director for TPPF’s Secure and Sovereign Texas. “But the DOJ’s witness failed to convincingly address whether the part of the Rio Grande where the buoys were installed was actually and currently navigable. In fact, the witness admitted that his determination of navigability was based on a list, which itself is based on reports and findings dating back to the 1970sand 1940s. Today, it is clear that part of the river is far too shallow to be considered navigable.”

The Biden Administration also produced a second witness, a U.S. Mexico border coordinator for the State Department, who insisted that the barrier was the cause of deteriorating diplomatic relations between Mexico and the U.S. TPPF‘s Selene Rodriguez says Mexico has long been a bad partner for the U.S. and its lack of assistance with the border crisis has already created strained relations.

“The Mexican government and Mexican criminal cartels exist in conscious and willing symbiosis, at multiple levels, up to and including the Mexican presidency,” said Rodriguez. “Yet the federal government is sending a loud message to Texas that its abusive relationship with Mexico is more important than the safety and security of our great state, which impacts the security of the nation itself.

“The Mexican state-cartel collusion conducts a deadly export trade, drug trafficking, corruption, and worst of all—human trafficking,” Rodriguez continued. “The federal government, which ought to be the first line of defense for our communities against these predations, has effectively abdicated its obligation to do so. As we cannot trust this administration to do it, Texas must step up, with its full constitutional powers brought to bear.”



On July 24, 2023, the U.S. Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against Texas Governor Greg Abbott and the state of Texas for violating the Rivers and Harbors Act after the state installed a buoy barrier on part of the Rio Grande to deter illegal migrant crossings.

The DOJ alleged that the state of Texas built a structure obstructing the navigable capacity of the river and did not obtain authorization to do so. The former implies that the United States has jurisdiction over the Rio Grande because the river has been found to be “navigable,” meaning it can or could be used for commercial navigation. The DOJ lawsuit asked that the state both stop building any such barriers and remove the one currently in place.

The preliminary injunction hearing for the removal of the barrier took place on August 22, 2023.

TPPF filed an amicus brief arguing that the federal government needed to demonstrate current navigability. Can you change that on the website please?