HARLINGEN, Texas (Border Report) — Gov. Greg Abbott is scheduled to visit Eagle Pass, Texas, on Monday with a group of Republican governors to defend the marine border buoys that Texas has put in the middle of the Rio Grande to deflect illegal immigration from Mexico.

The visit, which was announced Friday, comes after a survey was released in court this week by the agency that oversees the international river that found a majority of the buoys were illegally placed on Mexico’s side of the river.

Buoy barriers are installed and situated in the middle of the Rio Grande river on July 18, 2023 in Eagle Pass, Texas. Texas has begun installing buoy barriers along portions of the Rio Grande river in an effort to deter illegal border crossings. (Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

Abbott is scheduled to visit the same park in Eagle Pass where city officials earlier this month rescinded an order by the mayor to make the park private to allow Operation Lone Star forces to stage marine exercises and equipment there. He plans to hold an afternoon press conference Monday at Shelby Park with the following visiting governors:

  • Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds
  • Nebraska Gov. Jim Pellen
  • Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt
  • South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem

All four governors have pledged support and resources for Operation Lone Star, which is the state’s border security initiative launched by Abbott in 2021. Texas has spent over $5 billion, so far, on the initiative.

Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw, Adjutant General of Texas Maj. Gen. Thomas Suelzer, and Texas Border Czar Mike Banks also are scheduled to be in Eagle Pass on Monday with the governors, Abbott’s office said.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced Operation Lone Star on March 9, 2021, during a visit to Mission, Texas. (Sandra Sanchez/Border Report File Photo)

In his weekly report on Operation Lone Star on Friday, Abbott said since Operation Lone Star began, the multi-agency initiative has led to the apprehension of over 414,000 migrants and 33,200 criminal arrests, including 30,100 felony charges.

“Texans living along the border bear the brunt of Biden’s open border policies,” Abbott tweeted Thursday.

On Tuesday, he retweeted a Newsweek article this week that cited a poll by the publication that found more Texans support the marine buoy barriers, than oppose it.

Forty-nine percent polled said they either strongly support the marine barrier, or support the decision to erect the floating barriers, Newsweek reports.

But a survey by the International Boundary and Water Commission (IBWC), the bi-national agency that oversees the Rio Grande, found a majority of the buoys in string are actually on Mexico’s side of the river. That is a violation of the U.S./Mexico water treaty act, the agency said in court documents on Tuesday.

Dozens of large buoys that are set to be deployed in the Rio Grande are unloaded, Friday, July 7, 2023, in Eagle Pass, Texas, where border crossings continue to place stress on local resources. Advocates have raised concern that the barriers may have an adverse environmental impact. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

The survey was conducted by both the United States and the Mexican offices of IBWC in late July in response to a lawsuit against the buoy barrier. The results were finalized on Monday by commissioners for both countries. It stated that the string is 995 feet long and the survey found “787 feet of the buoy chain is located within the territory of Mexico.”

The documents were filed in U.S. District Court for the Wester District of Texas in Austin in a lawsuit brought by the U.S. federal government against Abbott and the State of Texas. The Justice Department is asking for removal of the marine barrier.

A hearing is set for Tuesday in Austin on the federal lawsuit.

Sandra Sanchez can be reached at SSanchez@BorderReport.com.