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Has Texas installed a floating barrier with chainsaws to injure migrants?

A kayaker walks past large buoys being used as a floating border barrier on the Rio Grande Tuesday
A kayaker walks past large buoys being used as a floating border barrier on the Rio Grande Tuesday Copyright Eric Gay/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved
Copyright Eric Gay/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved
By Sophia Khatsenkova
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Some social media users and politicians say such a device has been placed in the Rio Grande River to purposefully injure those who try and enter the US from Mexico.


The viral video was originally posted on the social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter, by the Democrat Congresswoman Sylvia Garcia.

She had recently traveled to the US-Mexico border to document the new anti-immigration measures taken by the Republican Governor of Texas, Greg Abbott. 

Multiple politicians in the US and abroad are now claiming that these orange barrels are not only meant to deter migrants but also to injure and even kill them due to what they claim are circular chainsaws attached to the buoys. 

"Clothing stuck on razor wire where families got trapped. Chainsaw devices in the middle of buoys," explained Joaquin Castro, the Democrat Texas Congressman on his X account.

"Razor wire. Buoys meant to inflict harm. Helicopters. Military vehicles. This is equipment designed for war, not to help process asylum seekers at the southern border," tweeted the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.

This floating barrier was installed in July close to the town of Eagle Pass located on the bank of the Rio Grande River, bordering Mexico and the United States. 

It’s part of the state’s operation called “Lone Star” to fight illegal immigration.

In a press release published in August, Texas authorities said the operation was a success claiming to have arrested nearly 402,000 illegal immigrants in the last two years. 

However, the razor-like blades seen on the orange barrels aren’t technically circular chainsaws because they aren’t motor-powered. 

Instead, these razor-like blades are more like floating barbed wire. 

According to a report by Texas Public Radio, “There are serrated metal plates that look like circular saw blades between each buoy to deter anyone from climbing over it.”

However, a Texas state trooper deployed as part of Operation Lone Star had told a superior the razor wire and buoys are "nothing more than an inhumane trap."

Since the installation of this barrier, bodies of migrants have been discovered in the river.

Texas officials say the men likely drowned upstream. One body was caught in the buoys, according to the New York Times.

Officials from the Texas Department of Public Safety said the body appeared to have floated there after having drowned.

In mid-July, the US Department of Justice sued Greg Abbott over the floating device claiming it threatens public safety and violates treaties with Mexico. 

But Greg Abbott remained defiant and in a letter to the US President Joe Biden said Texas “will see you in court."

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