During a press conference on Wednesday, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott revealed the state will allocate a grand total of $1 billion of state funds for border security in response to federal government’s mishandling of border crisis.
“Building the wall in Texas has officially begun,” the governor proudly announced.
During the press conference, Abbott instructed Bryan Collier, Executive Director of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, to “transfer $250 million in General Revenue to the Disaster Fund within the Trusteed Programs within the Office of the Governor” towards “a down payment to begin design and construction of physical barriers on voluntarily donated private and public lands that border this state and Mexico,” according to the Daily Wire.
The outlet added Abbott used the press conference to lambast the Biden administration for their negligence as the border crisis continues to worsen.
“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,” Abbott said. “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. 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 vowed.
The announcement comes days after Abbott said during a border security summit in Del Rio, Texas, that he plans to construct a wall on Texas’ southern border.
As reported by the Texas Tribune, the governor has issued disaster declarations for numerous counties across the state due to a surge in illegal immigration. However, Democrats have questioned him on whether the surge of illegal immigration constitutes as a “disaster,” which allows Abbott to relocate legislative funds.
“A governor should not be able to circumvent the legislative process by declaring such matters to be emergencies and then implementing whatever measures he wishes,” said Democrat State Rep. John Turner. “If a governor can commence such a long-term, multi-hundred-million-dollar public works project under the cover of emergency powers, it is difficult to know what the limits of those powers are.”
The Texas governor is receiving similar treatment to President Trump who was accused of “executive overreach” in 2019 for declaring a national emergency at the border in order to combat drug smuggling, human trafficking, and gang violence. Trump’s emergency order remained in place until February when the Biden administration ended it, according to the Texas Tribune.
Now that Abbott has decided to continue building the wall, Trump is set to meet the governor in Texas on Wednesday. Stay tuned for more information.