Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced his intention to install a floating barrier in the middle of the Rio Grande near Eagle Pass, Texas. The 1,000-foot-long structure, consisting of four-foot-wide buoys is a product manufactured by the Cochrane USA corporation. Abbot announced the installation of the barrier Thursday afternoon as he signed a host of border security bills in Austin.
Governor Abbott says the installation of the barrier is part of a strategy that will proactively prevent illegal crossings between ports of entry by making it more difficult to cross the Rio Grande and reach the Texas side of the southern border. The first 1,000 feet of the marine floating barrier will be deployed near Eagle Pass with construction slated to begin on July 7.
Abbott revealed photos of the proposed water barrier including a rendition of the proposed project at the ceremony where he signed six border-related bills into law. The Cochrane corporate website now includes the project’s rendition photos of the water barrier project slated for Eagle Pass.
Although the barrier will only consist of an initial 1,000 feet, Abbott told reporters at the signing ceremony the barrier could be moved to other border hotspots or expanded upon. The project will be funded through legislation Abbot signed into law on Thursday allocating $5.1 billion for enhanced border security measures in the state.
Despite a slowdown in border crossings after the end of the Title 42 COVID-19 border expulsion authority, migrant crossings in Eagle Pass continue daily. As reported by Breitbart Texas, law enforcement sources are reporting migrant smuggling traffic has returned to near pre-Title 42 levels in recent weeks. In one South Texas county near Eagle Pass, some 15 migrant smuggling cases were interdicted on rural roadways in a 7-day period. Zavala County Sheriff’s Office deputies continue to deal with high-speed pursuits, injuries, and significant private property damage as a result.
State law enforcement authorities also implemented an enhanced prosecution program that involves arresting migrants attempting to breach current border barriers, and charging them with criminal trespass.
A charge of criminal trespass in Texas is considered a Class B misdemeanor and can carry a fine of up to $2,000 or up to 180 days of jail without enhancements. Most migrants charged under the offense plead guilty and are turned over to the Border Patrol to face administrative disposition of their immigration or asylum claims. During an exclusive interview with Governor Abbott in June 2021, the governor explained that under a state of emergency declaration, the penalties for these crimes are increased by one level.
Randy Clark is a 32-year veteran of the United States Border Patrol. Prior to his retirement, he served as the Division Chief for Law Enforcement Operations, directing operations for nine Border Patrol Stations within the Del Rio, Texas, Sector. Follow him on Twitter @RandyClarkBBTX.
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