An Eagle Pass business owner has filed a lawsuit against Gov. Greg Abbott, the State of Texas, and the Department of Public Safety for the Operation Lone Star border buoy initiative.

The buoys were designed to create a floating blockade in the Rio Grande River that would discourage illegal border crossings.

Epi’s Canoe & Kayak Team owner Jesse Fuentes has filed a lawsuit in Travis County which asks a judge to halt the installation of the buoys. In the lawsuit, Fuentes claims media coverage and installation of the buoy barrier have led to the cancellation of kayak events and will cause long-term “imminent and irreparable harm” to his business.

Fuentes is a member of the Eagle Pass Border Coalition, an organization founded to oppose border wall measures. The coalition hosted a protest against the buoys during their installation.

Democrats have also expressed concern over the safety of those attempting to cross the Rio Grande, with U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX) calling the buoys “drowning devices.”

In an appearance on Fox News, Texas DPS spokesperson Lt. Chris Olivarez claimed the buoys would save lives, saying, “The river is very dangerous. So now, having this marine barrier in place will deter any unlawful crossings, will prevent drownings, and prevent human smugglers from bringing people into the country illegally.”

Since Fuentes’ lawsuit was filed in Travis County, a discussion arose about whether the decision was made strategically to achieve an injunction from historically progressive judges in the area.

Abbott responded to the lawsuit in a tweet: “We will see you in court. And don’t think the Travis Co. Court will be the end of it. This is going to the Supreme Court. Texas has a constitutional right to secure our border.”

In the meantime, border buoy installations are set to continue.

Valerie Muñoz

Valerie Muñoz is a native South Texan and student at Texas A&M University, where she studies journalism. She is passionate about delivering clear and comprehensive news to Texans.