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Federal government claims ownership of Fronton Island

Federal government claims ownership of Fronton Island
2 months 1 week 2 days ago Friday, May 10 2024 May 10, 2024 May 10, 2024 8:22 PM May 10, 2024 in News - Local

An island in Starr County under Texas control is actually federal property, according to the International Boundary and Water Commission.

Fronton Island, located in the middle of the Rio Grande near the city of Roma, has been patrolled the Texas Department of Public Safety and the National Guard since October 2023 as part of Operation Lone Star.

The 170-acre property was heavily used by cartels for smuggling, officials with the Texas General Land Office previously said.

Since the state took ownership of the land, the IBWC said they’ve been going through historical land records to figure out who can stake a claim to the island.

PREVIOUS STORY: State leaders discuss progress since taking over Fronton Island

On April 30, the federal agency sent a 19-page-long letter claiming Fronton Island is federal property.

READ THE FULL LETTER HERE

“We assert Fronton Island is federal property and under the jurisdiction of USIBWC,” agency spokesman Frank Fisher said in an email sent out on Friday to Channel 5 News. “We have requested Texas supply documentation to us within 30 days to support their position the state owns the land.”

Since the state claimed ownership of the island, the property has undergone several operations to clear the area to install concertina fences and bridges without consulting the IBWC that has changed the floodplain in the Rio Grande, according to the letter.

“This could be particularly harmful in flood conditions where this situation may promote unanticipated flooding in Mexico and the surrounding area,” the letter stated.

When reached for comment, the Texas General Land Office provided the following statement from Texas GLO Commissioner Dawn Buckingham in full:

“The Texas General Land Office has no intention of backing down from claiming ownership on behalf of the state of Texas of Fronton Island. Until I claimed this 170 acre island as Texas land based on our records, it was a safe haven for cartels, illegal weapons, human and drug smuggling. This move by the federal government is nothing more than politically and maliciously motivated. While the Biden Administration continues to intentionally leave our southern border open and millions upon millions of unvetted illegal immigrants continue pouring in, I will never apologize for securing the most violent area of the border in order to protect Texans.” 

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