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The Border Report: Texas border czar explains how marine barriers work

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Texas Border Czar Mike Banks – in an exclusive interview with The Center Square – described how marine barriers work in the Rio Grande River as a deterrent for illegal entry.

Banks did so as several individuals and organizations claimed or suggested the buoys killed people, have razors or knives, and made other claims about them. The buoys have been at the center of federal and local lawsuits filed in an attempt to end Gov. Greg Abbott’s border security mission Operation Lone Star, The Center Square previously reported.

Banks demonstrated how the buoys work in Eagle Pass, Texas, on Monday, explaining they “are used to put infrastructure in the river at the international boundary.” The marine barrier is “less expensive than building a physical wall and can be easily moved and installed,” he said.

“The buoys don’t go forward” as some have claimed, suggesting doing so causes people to drown, Banks said. “They only go backwards. They work like a rachet system so if you try to climb on it, the buoy would spin backwards preventing you from getting over it. If you try to go over it, the buoy would lock in place.”

He also debunked claims that a hole can be poked in the buoys, causing them to sink. He showed how they are hard, designed to float. “There’s no way to poke a hole in it to have it sink,” he said.

Some have claimed the buoys have saws or knives on them, but Banks pointed out that a circular device in between the buoys is an anti-climb deterrent.

“It’s designed to prevent someone to get in-between the buoys,” he said.

He also leaned into the device to show that it doesn’t pierce or cut the skin.

Border Czar Mike Banks describes how the marine barriers work in Eagle Pass, Texas. #OperationLoneStar #TheBorderReport @GovAbbott @GregAbbott_TX 1 of 2 pic.twitter.com/GQeokkcBE2— Bethany Blankley (@BethanyBlankley) August 21, 2023

Banks also addressed what he said was the misinformation being disseminated that people have already died from the buoys.

“One of the things you hear a lot is that two migrants have died trying to cross the buoys. Absolutely false,” he said. “Not a single migrant has attempted to cross these buoys since they’ve been placed in the river.”

Both the Texas National Guard and Department of Public Safety troopers provide overwatch, he added, saying that illegal foreign nationals “go around them. They do not want to cross them.”

He said two people died near the buoys; one down river and one up river. The body of the one who drowned up river floated down the river and pushed up against the buoys.

“Any myth about these buoys being involved in a death is absolutely false,” he said.

Banks, who was a Border Patrol agent for 23 years, said last year 850 people died after illegally entering the US.

“That was a record setting year,” he said. “The previous year was 654, which was another record, up from 200 in the previous years.”

“The buoys deter migrants from crossing the river and putting themselves in danger. They’re saving lives, they’re not taking lives,” he said.

“People trying to turn this into some type of death device need to look at the policies” of the Biden administration, he said, “which is encouraging people to put their lives at risk crossing the river.”

Border Czar Mike Banks refutes claims that people died from the buoys in Eagle Pass, Texas. #OperationLoneStar #TheBorderReport then two gov handles 2 of 2 pic.twitter.com/Y0hvDggyHW— Bethany Blankley (@BethanyBlankley) August 21, 2023

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