Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said Wednesday that he will use $250 million in state money and crowdsourced financing to build more barriers along the U.S. border with Mexico, part of an emerging proposal that also extends his political fight over immigration with the Democratic Biden administration.
“Texas is doing more than any state has ever done to protect the border, but it is clear that more is needed,” Abbott said.
“In the Biden Administration’s absence, Texas is stepping up to get the job done by building the border wall,” he continued. “Through this comprehensive public safety effort, we will secure the border, slow the influx of unlawful immigrants, and restore order in our border communities.”
Abbott had recently announced his intention to complete the work begun during the Trump administration, much of which President Joe Biden reversed by executive fiat on his first day in office.
That has contributed to an unprecedented border crisis, which the Biden administration has refused to acknowledge or address, fearing the political fallout from admitting culpability, on one hand, and from defying the open-borders demands of radical leftists on the other.
“The Biden Administration has abandoned its responsibilities to secure the border and Texans are suffering as a result,” said Abbott.
“The problems along the border are only getting worse due to President Biden’s inaction,” he continued. “Property is being destroyed, deadly drugs and illegal weapons are being smuggled into communities throughout the state, law enforcement is having to redirect their resources, and county judges and mayors are facing skyrocketing expenses.”
Republicans, however, have risen to the occasion, both to score political points in the unmitigated disaster and to draw contrasts with their own decisive leadership.
Former president Donald Trump announced this week that he plans to visit the border at Abbott’s invitation on June 30.
Abbott also hosted a Governor’s Border Security Summit last week in Del Rio, which brought together law enforcement, city and county officials, and landowners to discuss strategies to secure the border and keep communities safe.
During the press conference, Abbott signed a letter to Biden demanding the immediate return of any land taken by the federal government to build the border wall. Once returned, Texas will talk to those property owners about the possibility of Texas using that land to build the wall.
The governor also signed a letter to the Texas Facilities Commission directing them to hire a project manager to oversee construction of the Texas border wall.
This program manager will lead the process of planning and executing the project, and will hire the contractors and subcontractors needed to build the wall. Once hired, the program manager and contractors will identify state land and land that private landowners and local governments can volunteer for the wall.
Additionally, Abbott and other top state officials, including Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, signed a letter authorizing the transfer for $250 million as a down payment to launch the construction of the border wall and hire a program manager and contractors.
Abbott noted that the state budget allocates a record $1.1 billion toward border security.
Despite the state contributions, Abbott said a donation page had been established where anyone can voluntarily donate to the construction of the border wall.
The fund will be maintained by the Texas Division of Emergency Management.