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TX Gov. Abbott putting $250 million ‘down payment’ for border wall construction

A stretch of border wall near Ysleta on Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2020. (Briana Sanchez/El Paso Times/TNS)
June 17, 2021

Gov. Greg Abbott formally announced on Wednesday that the state was putting a $250 million “down payment” to build a border wall on its southern border, accusing the Biden administration of “abandon[ing] its responsibilities” to secure the U.S.-Mexico border.

“The Biden Administration has abandoned its responsibilities to secure the border and Texans are suffering as a result,” said Gov. Abbott in a statement. “The problems along the border are only getting worse due to President Biden’s inaction. 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.”

“Texas is doing more than any state has ever done to protect the border, but it is clear that more is needed. 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.”

The governor, along with several other lawmakers, officially authorized the $250 million “down payment” for border wall construction and to hire a program manager and contractors. Gov. Abbott also explained that the state’s budget sets aside $1.1 billion for border security.

“My belief, based upon conversations that I’ve already had, is a combination of state land as well as volunteer land will yield hundreds of miles to build a wall in the state of Texas,” Abbott said during a press conference.

Gov. Abbott also sent a letter to President Biden demanding any land taken by the federal government for the border wall be returned to Texas. Once the Lone Star State has the land back, Abbott will use it for the new border wall.

“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.

“Homes are being invaded, neighborhoods are dangerous and people are being threatened on a daily basis with guns by people coming across the border or those working with those coming across the border,” he added.

Customs and Border Patrol statistics revealed that the Del Rio Sector saw 27,890 illegal immigrant apprehensions in May this year, a 1,118 percent increase from the same period last year.

Last week, Abbott said the Biden administration seems to be “welcoming these people into the United States,” but that Texas won’t send the same message. He said Texas will use it authority under a State of Emergency to ramp up enforcement of all laws along the border.