Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced plans to build a border wall in Texas along the southeastern border, pledging a quarter of a billion dollars to start.
The governor said state law enforcement resources will also come down harder on those crossing the border illegally, pledging to arrest anyone for trespassing.
Gov. Abbott said it’s unclear what the total cost of the wall will be, but Texas has committed to allocating a $250 million down payment from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice and use those funds as a down payment.
"Building the wall in Texas has officially begun," Gov. Abbot said.
Abbott is moving forward on his Texas border wall plan, signing a pledge for $250 million dollars in funding to start.
Every day, hundreds of children continue to be apprehended at the border. Gov. Abbott says aside from that, criminals are coming across unfinished parts of the wall.
There are also daily reports of illegal immigrant smuggling. The Laredo border patrol released photos on Wednesday of a rented moving truck stopped this week on I-35 that had 27 people.
The governor cited an increase in crime and drugs from the surge in illegal border crossings.
"In just the first four months of this year, just the Texas Department of Public Safety had an 800% increase in the amount of fentanyl they had apprehended," Abbott said. "They apprehended enough fentanyl to kill more than 21 million Americans."
Democrats like former Congressman Beto O'Rourke says the wall is not the solution.
"While we have very real problems in Texas that have not had a solution applied to them because the governor is too busy distracting based on political points he wants to score, instead of governing the state," O’Rourke said. "If you fail to address the underlying reasons that people flea in the first place, there is not a wall high enough, there’s not a mote you can did wide enough, there’s not an enforcement action draconian enough that will keep people away."
Abbot did not give a timeline for when construction will start, saying a project manager needs to be hired first. He also did not give an update on how many miles of wall the state will build or where more funding will come from. But he says this isn’t about politics, it about safety.
"We believe in the rule of law and law and order in this state, and by God, we are going to step up and deliver that rule of law and law and order in the state of Texas," he said.
Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick described the influx of migrants as "we are being invaded."
"We’re on pace to apprehend nearly 2 million people this year, compared to 400-500k in the past," Patrick said.
Gov. Abbott said DPS plans to increase arrests, expand jail space, and work with landowners near the border to put up fencing, but those are temporary fixes.
"In the federal government’s absence, Texas is stepping up to get the wall done. We will build the wall, we will secure the border, but most importantly, we will restore safety," he said.
The governor said he will demand that President Joe Biden release land seized by the federal government where Biden halted construction, so the work can resume.
Abbott is also calling for donations from the public and said some have already sent checks to help fund the wall.
"I’m focused on the humanitarian crisis that Texans are suffering through. Texans on the border are suffering a humanitarian crisis by having their lives disrupted with guns and gangs and being riddled with crime," Abbott said.