Federal appeals court orders Texas to remove anti-migrant buoy barrier from Rio Grande

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By Todd J. Gillman and Aarón Torres | Dallas Morning News

WASHINGTON — In a blow to Gov. Greg Abbott, a federal appeals court ordered Texas on Friday to remove the border buoys the state installed near Eagle Pass to block migrants.

Abbott had turned to the conservative New Orleans-based Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, which temporarily blocked a lower court’s order three months ago finding that Texas had violated federal laws when it installed the 1,000-foot long barrier in June.

Texas argued that an “invasion” by migrants and drug cartels gives the state sweeping constitutional authority to defend itself, regardless of federal law and treaties with Mexico that forbid installation of barriers in river, which serves as the southern border for the length of Texas.

The lower court judge in Austin had deemed that assertion “breathtaking.”

Texas is not the first state to try and make the argument that migration counts as an invasion from a foreign nation under the Constitution. The justices did not buy that reasoning — consistent with previous federal appeals court rulings.

Spokespeople for Abbott and the Texas Department of Public Safety did not immediately respond to questions asking if the state would comply.

Abbott has vowed to take the case to the Supreme Court, hoping the conservative majority on the high court will overturn prior rulings and establish that states have a role in immigration enforcement.