2 bodies recovered from Rio Grande as dispute over Texas-Mexico floating border barrier continues News
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2 bodies recovered from Rio Grande as dispute over Texas-Mexico floating border barrier continues

Mexican authorities confirmed Thursday that they recovered two bodies from the Rio Grande. Authorities recovered one of the bodies, a Mexican national, from buoys recently floated by Texas in an effort to slow border crossings from Mexico. The second body, a Honduran national, was recovered further upstream, away from the buoys. The incidents have renewed attention on the floating barrier, which is now the subject of a lawsuit between the US Department of Justice (DOJ) and the state of Texas.

In response to the recovery of the two bodies, Mexican President Andres Manuel López Obrador called the buoys “inhumane.” He and other Mexican authorities maintain that Texas’s installation of the buoys violates Mexico’s sovereignty. They continue to cite two treaties, the Water Treaty of 1944 and the Boundary Treaty of 1970. The two treaties govern the water that separates Mexico and the US, such as the Rio Grande. Any interference with the water’s flow, including the buoys, potentially violates the treaties.

Mexican authorities also continue to claim that the buoys threaten the human rights and safety of migrants passing through the Rio Grande—a call echoed by Human Rights Watch (HRW) on Friday.

In a statement to the press, Director of the Texas Department of Public Safety Steve McCraw, dismissed concerns that the deaths were related to the buoys. McCraw said, “[P]reliminary information suggests [the second discovered body] drowned upstream from the marine barrier and floated into the buoys.” A spokesperson for Texas Governor Greg Abbott doubled down on McCraw’s statement, saying that the Mexican government is “flat-out wrong.”

The buoys are currently the subject of a lawsuit between the DOJ and the state of Texas. The DOJ alleged that Texas violated the Rivers and Harbors Act by failing to obtain federal authorization for the buoys prior to their installation. Like Mexico and HRW, the DOJ also voiced human rights and public safety concerns over the buoys. In response to DOJ’s lawsuit, Abbott indicated the buoys would remain in place, writing, “Mr. President, Texas will see you in court.”

A spokesperson for Abbott said on Thursday that Texas border authorities continue to monitor the buoys for any attempted crossing. They claim that, as of the time of the discovery of the two bodies, Texas border authorities have “not observed anyone attempting to cross.”