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Texas' floating U.S-Mexico border barrier can remain, court rules in reversal

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A federal appeals court on Wednesday reversed an order requiring Texas to move a floating barrier on the Rio Grande that drew backlash from Mexico — the latest development in legal battles between the Biden administration and Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott over control of migration at the border.

In December, a divided panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had sided with a federal district judge in Texas who said the buoys must be moved. On Wednesday, the court vacated the panel's 2-1 ruling after a majority of its 17 active judges voted to rehear the case.

The series of linked, concrete-anchored buoys stretches roughly the length of three soccer fields. The state installed it along the international border with Mexico between the Texas border city of Eagle Pass and Piedras Negras, Coahuila.

The barrier is one focal point in the legal disputes over border control between Democratic President Joe Biden and Abbott. The Biden administration also is fighting for the right to cut razor-wire fencing at the border and for access to a city park at the border that the state fenced off.

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