Three former Trump administration officials have told NBC News that the controversial barrier buoys in the Rio Grande on the Texas-Mexico border was originally their idea.
The buoys, which have faced criticism from the left as well as a lawsuit by the Department of Justice (DOJ) to attempt to get them removed, were installed by Texas as part of a state anti-illegal immigration effort known as “Operation Lone Star.” Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) has said he will not remove the barriers in response to the DOJ’s legal threats.
Former U.S. Border Patrol Chief Rodney Scott said he found inspiration in early 2020 for the system currently at the border in the use of buoy barriers in other countries to protect ships in harbors. After that, he began to review applications from contractors for possible buoy barrier systems along the Pacific coast in California and the Rio Grande. He also said he had members of the Border Patrol’s special operations test buoys to find out if they would work as barriers in different settings.
“It’s a deterrent,” Scott told NBC News. “We were sold.”
Scott said the barrier project was paused in March 2020, but one of his staff members, Mike Banks, later joined Abbott’s administration as a “border czar” in January. Scott and two other Trump administration officials told NBC News that some “tactical” ideas were brought to Abbott’s office by Banks and started being implemented at the state level.
Two bodies were found floating near the barrier earlier this month. The Mexican president derided the barriers as “inhumane” in the wake of the discovery of the bodies.
Source: The Hill