MISSION, Texas (KVEO) — Governor Greg Abbott held a security summit along the border in Del Rio, Texas on June 10. During the press conference, Governor Abbott outlined his plan to crack down on illegal border crossings.
Abbott called for an increase in police presence on the border in response to a sharp increase of illegal border crossings compared to previous years.
“I will announce next week, the plan for the state of Texas to begin building the border wall in the state of Texas,” said Governor Abbott to raucous applause in the Del Rio convention center.
Marianna Trevino-Wright, Executive Director of the National Butterfly Center in Mission, has been battling for years to stop border wall construction on the butterfly sanctuary.
“The federal government and the state government have very distinct roles, and we do have a constitution that protects us from overreach and civil rights violations,” said Trevino-Wright.
Having dealt with both federal and private border wall construction, Trevino-Wright told KVEO that she wasn’t concerned about the state trying to build its own wall.
In fact, Trevino-Wright was confident that the federal government wouldn’t allow Texas to build its own wall along the border, and called Governor Abbott’s security summit in Del Rio “political theater” that was intended to “galvanize the people who already support and vote for the GOP and that agenda.”
“Hopefully it will have the opposite effect on the borderlands, where so many people are fed up with being targeted, harassed, and oppressed,” she added.
Governor Abbott didn’t give specifics on when or where the wall would be built, saying he would announce the plan for the border wall construction next week.
Despite the assessment that the summit was political theater, Trevino-Wright said she thought there could be a benefit brought from this announcement.
“This is a good time for people to seek out solid information from agencies like the ACLU and the Texas Civil Rights Project that protects all of us and our rights,” said Trevino-Wright.
Organizers with LUPE disagreed with Governor Abbott’s intention to have people who illegally crossed the border arrested.
“There’s still a process, there’s still a legal process people have to go through. The doors aren’t wide open, its not open borders, but we need a humane process at the border,” said Danny Diaz, an organizer with LUPE in Hidalgo County.
He said that Texas, and the United States, needed to focus on being more welcoming instead.
“Being a good neighbor, welcoming people with dignity, and being a good example for the world what it looks like to actually be a good neighbor and treat people and human beings with respect,” said Diaz.