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Texas' anti-migrant buoys are mostly on the Mexican side of the Rio Grande, survey finds

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A survey of the anti-migrant buoys in the Rio Grande found that almost all of them are on the Mexican side of the river, according to the international agency that oversees the international boundary.

The Mexican government had complained that the controversial buoys near Eagle Pass were in its territory. But the State of Texas, which deployed the barrier, claimed otherwise.

The International Boundary and Water Commission (IBWC) released a detailed survey on Tuesday concluding that Mexico is right.

The IBWC declared that of the 995-foot barrier, about 787 feet of it is south of the international boundary line — nearly 80% on the Mexican side.

Mexico’s Foreign Minister Alicia Bárcena Ibarra joined U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken in a joint press conference Thursday to discuss the controversial 1,000-foot anti-migrant barrier in the middle of the Rio Grande.

This determination was filed Tuesday by the Justice Department to the court overseeing the lawsuit that the Biden administration filed against the State of Texas demanding that the buoys be removed from the river.

The lawsuit argued that the buoys are a public safety and environmental threat and an encroachment on the federal government's authority.

An Aug. 22 federal court hearing is set in Austin.

The buoys are the latest escalation in Gov. Greg Abbott's controversial $4 billion Operation Lone Star border security program to deter migrants from crossing the Rio Grande illegally.

Operation Lone Star has also been responsible for Department of Public Safety officers laying miles of razor wire along the Rio Grande, stacking shipping containers along a public park, and engaging in high speed chases in order to arrest migrants on a state trespassing charge created by Abbott.

The riverside city, sometimes referred to as 'La Puerta de Mexico' or 'Mexico’s Door,' 'is at the center of a struggle between the State of Texas and the federal government over shutting that door to illegal immigration.

Eagle Pass — a popular crossing spots for migrants — has been the epicenter of Abbott's border operation.

The stretch of the Rio Grande near Eagle Pass is already dangerous due to changing currents. Human rights organizations say Abbott's actions have made it more dangerous.

The dead body of a migrant was found caught in one of Abbott's buoys earlier this month. Abbott claimed the buoys were not responsible for the death and that the death occurred upstream.

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David Martin Davies can be reached at dmdavies@tpr.org and on Twitter at @DavidMartinDavi