AUSTIN – All eyes are on Austin as a high-stakes hearing unfolds over the fate of the buoys placed in the Rio Grande by Gov. Greg Abbott. A decision could be made by Friday.
At a hearing on Tuesday, the State of Texas defended the buoys.
Sergio Treviño, the communications manager with La Union del Pueblo Entero (LUPE), said his organization is hopeful that the judge will make the right decision.
“So, we are hopeful that we hear a favorable consensus from the judge, but we know that the Department of Justice needs to do more to protect the civil rights of not only asylum seekers but also Texas residents when it comes to the unconstitutional use of Operation Lone Star,” said Treviño.
The State of Texas on Tuesday defended its reasoning for placing the buoys along the Rio Grande.
“The hearing took place because the Department of Justice got notified that these buoys were breaking international water rules, and the State of Texas did not take the proper precaution in accessing the permits. They (are) required to install the buoys,” said Treviño.
The international agency that oversees water treaties between Mexico and the U.S. revealed in a survey this month that most of the buoys were on the Mexico-owned portion of the river, a violation of international border treaties.
“The state had their lawyers trying to discredit the Department of Justice argument, saying that they didn’t require a permit and that these weren’t navigable waters,” said Treviño.
During a press conference this week in Eagle Pass and a day before the hearing, Gov. Abbott stated the marine barrier had been moved closer to U.S. soil. In regard to treaties, he said the buoys are listed as a permissible device.
“That’s where the judge gets to make that decision, right? That’s why we have the court systems -- to make sure that people are accountable and that nobody is above the law,” said Treviño.
On Friday, a federal judge will decide if the state gets to keep the buoys on the Rio Grande or if the barriers are a treaty violation impacting relations with Mexico.
“We are hopeful that we hear a favorable consensus from the judge, but we know that the Department of Justice needs to do more to protect the civil rights of not only asylum seekers but also Texas residents when it comes to the unconstitutional use of Operation Lonestar,” said Treviño.
LUPE is a nonprofit organization founded by Cesar Chavéz and Dolores Huerta. It provides a number of services to lower-income families of the Rio Grande Valley and is known to be at the forefront of border issues and migrant advocacy.