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Texas deploys floating barrier in Rio Grande River to deter migrant crossings at US-Mexico border

By Rosa Flores and Dave Alsup, CNN

(CNN) — The state of Texas on Friday began deploying a marine floating barrier on the Rio Grande River in an attempt to deter migrant crossings along the US-Mexico border, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said.

Abbott posted a 15-second video to Twitter showing buoys being loaded from trailers that would be deployed in the river near the border town of Eagle Pass. The Texas Department of Public Safety is overseeing the deployment, the governor said in the tweet Friday.

Abbott, a longtime critic of the Biden administration’s border policies, announced the plan last month that the state would deploy a 1,000-foot floating barrier.

During the announcement, Texas Department of Public Safety Director Col. Steven McCraw touted the buoy barrier could be “quickly deployed” and said it’s mobile. He explained the buoy would be anchored to the bottom of the waterway, adding the buoys are roughly 4 to 6 feet in height depending on the water level.

There are “ways to overcome” the floating barrier, but “it takes great effort, specialized skills and equipment to do it,” McCraw said last month.

The new barrier comes after a series of migrant drownings in the Rio Grande River in recent days that left four people dead, including an infant, officials said.

Last weekend, a woman and a baby girl were found unresponsive in the river, said Texas Department of Public Safety Lt. Christopher Olivarez. A dead man and woman were found on Sunday and Monday, respectively, he added.

In recent years, migrants have resorted to increasingly risky – and often fatal – paths to evade detection and enter the US. In March, a migrant was found dead among a dozen people stowed away in a train car near Eagle Pass.

In 2022, a Texas National Guardsman drowned in the Rio Grande attempting to rescue a woman crossing the river. That year was the deadliest for migrants crossing the US-Mexico border, with at least 748 people dying at the border, CNN has reported. Immigrant rights advocates have attributed the rise in deaths at the border to policies that have made it more difficult for migrants to seek refuge in the US.

™ & © 2023 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery Company. All rights reserved.

CNN’s Raja Razek contributed this report.

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