Governor Abbott plans to spend at least $250M on Texas border wall
AUSTIN, Texas - Governor Greg Abbott shared details about the state-built barrier system he recently announced would be built in Texas to secure the border. Texas is putting up $250,000,000 for the down payment, according to the Texas governor.
The quarter of a billion dollars will be used to start the process of hiring a border wall construction manager and purchasing materials, Abbott said. The governor has also started crowdfunding for the border wall and says ‘anyone can donate to the wall.’
He said that it would be built on a combination of state land and donations of private land. He also blasted the Biden administration’s policies on the border, which he described as having led to "carnage" from people coming over.
"Make no mistake, the border crisis that we’re dealing with right now is a direct result of the open border policies that have been put in place by the Biden administration," he said.
Later, he said that the Biden administration "has abandoned its responsibility to apply federal law to secure the border and enforce the immigration laws."
"In the federal government’s absence, Texas is stepping up to get the job done."
The governor's announcement comes after U.S. Customs and Border Protection released its May statistics. It found that more than 180,000 undocumented immigrants or asylum seekers were detained which is the highest number in the month of May in 20 years.
President Joe Biden also stopped construction of the Trump Administration's border wall program when he took office.
WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT ABBOTT'S BORDER PLAN?
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Gov. Abbott declared plans for the border wall during a press conference in Del Rio on June 11.
Abbott announced the news while discussing a slew of border initiatives, such as a $1 billion allocation for border security in the state budget lawmakers just passed and a plan to establish a Governor’s Task Force on Border and Homeland Security with public safety and state government officials.
"It will help all of us to work on ways to stem the flow of unlawful immigration and to stem the flow of illegal contraband," Abbott said.
The governor is reportedly planning to pay for the wall with donations.
CAN ABBOTT BUILD THE WALL?
Many are questioning if Abbott can even build the wall. Some say the move is political posturing ahead of a re-election bid in 2022 and a possible presidential run in 2024.
"The governor really doesn’t have the authority to build a border wall, in the sense that immigration is a federal responsibility," Mark Jones, Rice University political science professor.
"In theory, if Governor Abbott wants to build a big wall somewhere near the U.S./Mexico border he can do so. But there will be issues of eminent domain and taking land, funding that wall, and then actually constructing it. If it’s not part of a broader immigration system that’s coordinated with the federal government, it’s likely to not be very effective. Can you imagine if you put a big 20 mile wall in one place, there's holes around it, so people just go around it? I think really this is much more political theater than anything else."
LULAC national president Domingo Garcia says the Latino civil rights group already is considering court challenges.
"It's absurd... it’s an abuse of authority," Garcia said. "We're going to fight it. We think his actions are illegal under federal law, the U.S. Constitution, and the Texas Constitution."
"This is as much about him presenting a stern face to the border and border issues," said Cal Jillson, SMU political science professor.
Jillson says this tough stand is not only to appease Republican voters, but also a pre-emptive attack against challengers from his own party.
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ABBOTT VS BIDEN ADMINISTRATION
The Biden administration issued a proclamation that stopped border wall construction on his first day of office and Gov. Abbott and the Biden administration have not seen eye to eye on the Texas border immigration crisis.
Federal officials recently threatened to sue Texas over Abbott’s order to strip certain shelters for migrant children of their state licenses, which could force the shelter operators — which operate under contracts with the federal government — to move the children elsewhere.
During his first months in office, Biden paused border wall construction started under former President Donald Trump and ordered a review of the Trump administration’s Migrant Protection Protocols, which required asylum seekers to wait in Mexico until their cases could be heard in U.S. immigration courts.
The Biden Administration has referred to its new policies as a way to be more humane toward migrants.