Federal officials complain that their Texas counterparts have ignored the federal government's requests for information about a floating barrier in the Rio Grande that has drawn protests from the Mexican government, the Houston Chronicle reports. A State Department spokesperson said that Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and the Texas Department of Public Safety did not consult with the federal government before deploying a floating buoy wall on the river near Eagle Pass, and have not responded to official requests for more information about them, even after concerns were raised that they may violate international agreements with Mexico. Abbott has ordered a 1,000-foot buoy barrier to be deployed in the middle of the Rio Grande to prevent migrants from swimming from Piedras Negras in Mexico to Eagle Pass. Cochrane USA, the contractor hired to build the barrier, began putting it in place last week despite a lawsuit from an Eagle Pass kayak company challenging the state’s authority to deploy it.
Mexico’s top diplomat said Friday that her country had sent a diplomatic note to the U.S. federal government about the floating barrier, saying it could violate treaties from 1944 and 1970 that govern the usage of the river. Texas doesn’t have authority over the river. The U.S. International Boundary and Water Commission, which regulates the Rio Grande, has informed Texas DPS of the need to submit information and apply for permits to place structures on commission-controlled land. The commission said it needs information about barriers to assure they don’t obstruct or deflect the flow of water in the river. Abbott’s office did not respond to a request for comment on Tuesday. It has said the barrier is needed to respond to illegal border crossings.