Joint US-Mexico Body Makes Big Find on Border Barrier

Topographical survey discovers that nearly 80% of controversial buoy barrier is in Mexico, not US
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 16, 2023 7:31 AM CDT
Survey: Almost 80% of Texas' Barrier Is in Mexican Waters
A kayaker walks past large buoys being used as a floating border barrier on the Rio Grande on Aug. 1, in Eagle Pass, Texas.   (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Migrant advocates, environmentalists, and the Mexican and US governments have all pushed back at the controversial border barrier Texas has installed in the Rio Grande to prevent migrants from crossing into the United States. Despite recovering at least two bodies along the barrier since it was installed in July, and despite a lawsuit by the Justice Department, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has stood firm at keeping the barrier up, arguing that Texas has a constitutional right to protect its border with Mexico. Now, per CBS News, a new topographical survey carried out by the feds shows that almost 80% of the barrier isn't even in the US—it's technically in Mexico.

The survey filed Tuesday in federal district court by the Biden administration in its complaint against the giant orange buoys—part of Abbott's Operation Lone Star to curb illegal immigration—was a joint effort by both nations' governments via the International Boundary and Water Commission, a group set up to determine international boundaries for the US and Mexico. A 1970 treaty puts the Rio Grande as the international border between the two countries, but the new survey shows that almost 780 feet, or 79%, of the nearly 1,000-foot barrier is "located within Mexico."

Last month, Mexico sent a diplomatic message to the US regarding the barrier, with foreign relations secretary Alicia Barcena warning the US that Mexico would be sending an inspection team to see how much of the barrier was in Mexican waters, per the AP. CBS notes that "Tuesday's survey is ... likely to intensify Mexico's opposition to the buoys, since it is the federal government's responsibility to set border and foreign policy, not Texas'." A US district court judge is set to hold the next hearing on the US government's suit on Tuesday. (More US-Mexico border stories.)

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