The floating barriers are expected to prevent illegal crossings at hotspots along the Rio Grande River, with the first 1,000 feet set to be placed near Eagle Pass. The inflatable barriers consist of a string of connected inflatable spheres that spin when someone attempts to scale them. Putting an inflatable fence along the border is aimed at proactively preventing illegal crossings between ports of entry by making it more challenging to cross the Rio Grande and reach the Texas side of the southern border.
Governor Abbott has also signed a package of six border security legislation bills aimed at helping the state "hold the line" as an increased number of illegal immigrants, weapons, and deadly drugs pour into Texas from Mexico. The Governor continues to blame President Biden's refusal to secure the border as the main reason for the increase in flow at the border.
"Thanks to the leadership and hard work of [Texas Department of Public Safety] Director [Steve] McCraw, General Thomas Suelzer, and their teams, Texas has pushed back against the swell of migrants and held the line to keep people out of Texas — but there's more that needs to be done," Abbott said. "The Texas Legislature has stepped up to make sure we continue to robustly respond to President Biden's growing border crisis, including allocating $5.1 billion for border security."
Included in the package are bills that give the Texas military the authority to use unmanned aircraft in search and recovery missions, authorize U.S. Border Patrol Agents who complete Texas DPS training to arrest, search, and seize at established border checkpoints, and provide compensation to landowners for property damage caused by illegal immigration activities. Abbott's legislation also designates Mexican drug cartels and criminal organizations as foreign terrorist organizations, increasing penalties for destroying illegal drugs and operating stash houses.
The Governor's announcement comes amid a surge in illegal immigration at the southern border, with the number of migrants reaching a 20-year high. The situation has been described as a crisis by Republicans, who have criticized President Biden's handling of the issue. Governor Abbott has been a vocal critic of the President's immigration policies and has taken steps to address the case at the state level. Installing the inflatable border is the latest effort by the Governor to secure the state's southern border and prevent illegal immigration.