Texas’ effort to secure border with new marine barrier underway

Buoys installed to block migrants from crossing border under governor’s order

EAGLE PASS, Texas – Gov. Greg Abbott’s new measure to secure the border is underway, as buoys are being installed to deter migrants from crossing the Rio Grande River.

The marine barrier is one of the latest efforts by the State of Texas to secure the border. Previously installed shipping containers along portions of the Rio Grande and concertina wire, or razor wire, are what Texas Department of Public Safety officials say provide layers of defense.

DPS Lt. Christopher Olivarez said the buoys should discourage migrants from crossing into the U.S., but some attempts will be made to cross the river despite the existing barriers and dangers.

“We do know for a fact that, whether it be a migrant or whether it be a smuggling organization in Mexico, that they’re going to try to find ways to defeat this barrier,” Olivarez said. “So we will have the manpower that will be monitoring this barrier, and of course, if there’s any damages or anybody does make it across, then they could possibly face some type of state criminal charges.”

Once installed, the marine barrier would cover about 1,000 feet of the middle of the Rio Grande. Officials say the buoy system will be netted with anchors that drop down to the bottom of the river.

“Obviously, the buoys will be placed into strategic areas where we see the majority of the flow of people coming across the river, where some of these areas are very deep,” Olivarez said. “The water is very deep, so we want to prevent those crosses. We want to prevent the drownings.”

He said while the number of migrant crossings has dropped, human smuggling operations have increased.

“We come across smuggling situations along the border, where drivers from all over, you know, from different parts of Texas, out of state, are still continuing to get involved in human smuggling and smuggling migrants further into the interior, as well as children,” said Olivarez.

DPS oversees the operation, but a private company is installing the buoys.

Texas’ border operation has been solely funded by the state and has taken a lot of backlash from numerous migrant advocacy groups and environmentalists.

About the Authors:

Jonathan Cotto is a reporter for KSAT’s Good Morning San Antonio. He’s a bilingual award-winning news reporter and he joined KSAT in 2021. Before coming to San Antonio, Cotto was reporting along the U.S.-Mexico border in South Texas. He’s a veteran of the United States Navy.