Texas Gov. Greg Abbott Says State Will Build Its Own Border Wall
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said the state will build a wall along its border with Mexico but provided almost no details about the endeavor, which would continue one of former President Donald Trump's marquee efforts.
Abbott's announcement came Thursday during a meeting with law enforcement officials in Del Rio, Texas, where he discussed a number of immigration-related initiatives, including a push to increase arrests and expand jail capacity in border communities.
The Republican governor, who is running for reelection in 2022, provided only vague information about the wall but said he would discuss the plan in more detail next week.
It's the latest move by Abbott that positions the state squarely in opposition to the Biden administration over immigration-related matters. Abbott last month instructed officials to yank the state licenses of shelters that house unaccompanied migrant children in custody of the federal government. The Biden administration this week threatened the state with legal action over the order.
The border wall was one of Trump's signature policy efforts and was broadly popular with his supporters. He originally promised that Mexico would pay for the wall but in the end diverted billions of dollars from the Defense Department to fund the project. His administration built roughly 450 miles of wall, mostly in Arizona.
President Joe Biden on Day One of his presidency ordered construction on the wall to stop.
Abbott's announcement comes several months after state Sen. Don Huffines, who is challenging Abbott in the GOP gubernatorial primary, pledged that he would build a wall on the state's border if he were elected governor.
Any effort to build a border wall will likely face swift challenges from immigration advocates, and it's unclear if the state has the authority to do so. The Trump administration faces several challenges while building the wall, including lawsuits and resistance from private landowners in Texas that pushed back against the government's efforts to seize their property in order to construct the wall.
Abbott has blamed the Biden administration for a recent increase in border crossings, including an influx of unaccompanied minors.
The Biden administration has kept in place a controversial Trump-era public health order that allows border agents to immediately expel migrants caught crossing the border, though has exempted unaccompanied children from the order.
Copyright 2021 U.S. News & World Report