Mexico’s president attacks ‘inhumane’ floating barriers deployed by Texas

By Tara John, Florencia Trucco and Karol Suarez, CNN

CNN  —  Mexico’s President Andres Manuel López Obrador has condemned Texas’s anti-migrant buoys, calling the border enforcement tactic on the Rio Grande river “inhumane” after bodies were found in the waters that flow along the US-Mexico border.

“No one should be treated like this. That kind of treatment does not come from a good person; only by being good can we be happy,” Lopez Obrador said at his daily press briefing on Thursday.

“Abbott shouldn’t act like that; it’s inhumane,” he also said, directly attacking Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who has touted the new barrier as a protective measure for his state and previously refused to remove it.

Two bodies were found in separate incidents by United States and Mexican officials in the Rio Grande river, according to Mexico’s foreign ministry on Wednesday.

One body was found stuck in the southern section of the buoys, and another body was found three miles upstream. Both were recovered by a rescue group from Mexico’s National Institute of Migration.

It is unclear what caused their deaths, though Texas officials have said that they suspect that the person found caught in the floating barrier had died upstream.

Texas began installing buoy barriers along portions of the Rio Grande river in July.

The floating barrier, which is intended to block migrants crossing from Mexico, was installed last month without federal authorization, according to the US Justice Department, which is suing the state of Texas over its use of the buoys.

The Mexican government has also decried Abbott’s decision to float the buoys. Last week, Mexican Secretary of Foreign Relations Alicia Bárcena Ibarra said her country had sent its second diplomatic note to the US complaining about the barriers.

They not only violate two treaties between the US and Mexico, she said, but a slide that accompanied her remarks claimed that a portion of the 305 meters of deployed buoy is on “Mexican territory.”

López Obrador on Thursday warned that the buoys violated Mexico’s “sovereignty and human rights,” adding that “we are already demanding that these buoys be removed.”

He also said that authorities were working to determine the deceased’s nationalities.

When first announcing the barrier in June, Abbott, a longtime critic of the Biden administration’s border policies, said he intended to float the first 1,000 feet of the barrier in the river near the city of Eagle Pass in Maverick County.

Texas’ treatment of migrants who attempt to cross into the US illegally has faced increasing scrutiny, and Biden administration officials have shown concern about Abbott’s measures, which have disrupted US Border Patrol operations in the region and put migrants at risk.

An internal email written by a Texas trooper-medic and shared with CNN last month said medics in Eagle Pass were ordered to push people back into the water, and described seeing a boy struggle “while he tried to cross a more dangerous part of the river away from the buoys,” as well as a mother and two children who drowned while trying to cross the river in an area without wire.

The email also described “a man with a significant laceration on his leg, suffered when he tried to rescue his child from razor wire placed on a deterrence buoy in the Rio Grande.”

In recent years, advocates say migrants have resorted to increasingly risky – and often fatal – paths to evade detection and enter the US amid a flurry of deterrence measures by both state and federal authorities. In June, dozens of people were found dead inside a semi-truck in Texas.

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