McALLEN, Texas (Border Report) — Members of the Eagle Pass Border Vigil Coalition say they are “disappointed” by a federal appeals court decision late Thursday that allows the controversial border buoys put in the Rio Grande by the State of Texas to remain.
“I’m very disappointed with everything having to do with the buoys, and I really want them out of the Rio Grande,” Amerika Garcia-Grewal, of the Coalition, told Border Report on Friday.
Along with the $1 million string of buoys, she says her group also wants other structures that the State of Texas has put in the river in Eagle Pass to be taken away.
“We want the concertina wire to come out of the river. The razor wire is very damaging to the environment. It cuts up animals. More than that it cuts up people – asylum-seekers, who are just wanting a better life. And so we very much want to have the buoys out. We want to have the concertina wire out and want the containers removed from where they are along the Rio Grande,” she said.
The Justice Department has sued Texas to get the 1,000-foot-long string removed from the river. A federal judge in Austin earlier this week ordered it removed by Sept. 15.
But late Thursday, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans said the marine barrier can remain in the river — at least for now.
Gov. Greg Abbott has vowed to appeal all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.
After Wednesday’s ruling, Abbott tweeted on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter: “This fight ain’t over. It’s only just begun.”
During court testimony, the Justice Department said it would cost the state an estimated $300,000 and several weeks to remove the border buoys and heavy machinery currently in the Rio Grande in Eagle Pass across the border from Piedras Negras, Mexico.
Mexican officials have openly spurned the marine barrier.
State officials last month moved it closer to the U.S. shoreline after a report found most of the buoys were on Mexico’s side of the international waterway.
The Biden administration says it violates the Rivers and Harbor Act of 1899.
Abbott says it deters illegal immigration from Mexico.
It is part of the over $5 billion that the state has spent on Operation Lone Star, the state border security initiative launched in 2021.
Garcia-Grewal says funds could be better spent improving education and infrastructure, specifically ensuring all South Texas residents have access to water.
“A humanitarian approach to the border would have the additional benefit of boosting diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Mexico and beneficial to wildlife and the environment as well,” the Coalition said in a statement Friday stressing “border security without cruelty.”
Garcia-Grewal said if all structures are removed, then her coalition wants the shoreline of the river, which has been bulldozed for law enforcement access, to be turned into a river trail for Eagle Pass residents to use and enjoy the waterway.
Her group is planning another vigil to be held Oct. 2 in Eagle Pass at Shelby Park, which is where Texas DPS and Texas National Guard stage operations on the river.
Sandra Sanchez can be reached at SSanchez@BorderReport.com.