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Texas Governor Restarts Plans for Southern Border Wall

Gov. Greg Abbott discussed his plans to spend at least $250 million to continue the construction of a Texas-Mexico border wall. The governor has already started accepting donations for the project.

(TNS) — Gov. Greg Abbott spoke Wednesday from the Texas Capitol about a new plan to build a wall at the Texas- Mexico border, once a campaign promise of former President Donald Trump.

Abbott previously revealed some details in Del Rio, Texas last week, saying that a wall was needed "to stem the flow of unlawful immigration," The Texas Tribune's Heidi Perez-Moreno reported. The Texas- Mexico border has seen a huge increase in apprehensions and migrants in 2021.

The Texas governor laid out several points under the new plan, promising "the most robust and comprehensive border plan the nation has ever seen."

The wall will be partially funded through donations

While the governor said a $250 million down payment will be allocated for the wall, Abbott announced he would seek donations from across the country to pay for it as well.

However, we don't know yet how much the wall will cost, where it will be, how long it will be, or how long it will take to build. Abbott said the state must first hire a program manager who will be able to answer those questions—although the wall will cost "far more than $250 million," the governor said.

Abbott is soliciting donations at and by mail.

State elected officials say they're stepping in because the federal government won't

Abbott and other officials had harsh words for the Biden administration. Previously, the administration issued a proclamation stopping border wall construction on President Joe Biden's first day in office.

"Make no mistake: The border crisis we are facing right now is because of the open border policies put in place by the Biden administration," Abbott said.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick echoed this.

"[The federal government has] left us no choice," Patrick said. "Trump was getting the border under control. Had we had four more years with him, we would have had the border under total control."

It will soon be easier for state officials to make arrests at the border

Abbott is expanding the powers of state officials. Under his plans, state officials will be able to "turn them over to a jail cell" and not federal officials, because those illegally crossing the border will have broken state law instead of committing a federal violation. Abbott announced the state would also increase space in local jails.

Abbott says federal officials have largely released those arrested at the border.

The border wall plan partially relies on volunteered private land

The Texas government is approaching private landowners to host portions of the border wall, according to Abbott. The governor said fencing was being installed "as we speak," and those private landowners who agreed to host fencing from the state will create "no trespass zones" that will allow state officials to arrest those attempting to cross the border.

Abbott says Texans are facing a "humanitarian crisis" at the border

When asked how Texas would respond to the humanitarian crisis faced by those looking to come to the U.S., Abbott countered that Texans living along the border were facing a crisis instead.

"Texans on the border are suffering a humanitarian crisis [with] with guns and gangs and [their communities] being riddled with crime," Abbott said, "We have a responsibility as leaders in this state to step up and address that humanitarian crisis and that is what began today."

(c)2021 the Houston Chronicle. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
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