HARLINGEN, Texas (KVEO) — Governor Greg Abbott announced a $250 million down payment for the state’s border wall. He also said that the state had already taken steps to start the state border wall that he first mentioned during a security summit in Del Rio, Texas last week.
“Some of those barriers are being built immediately, and that includes things like fencing. That is taking place as we speak,” said Abbott.
The governor focused heavily on the need to improve security on the Texas-Mexico border to stop illegal border crossings and he specifically mentioned an increase in illegal drugs being smuggled over the border in 2021.
“For the first four months of this year, just the Texas Department of Public Safety, they apprehended enough fentanyl to kill more than 21 million Americans,” said Governor Abbott.
He also blamed the Biden administration for causing the influx of migrants that Customs and Border Protection is encountering on the U.S.-Mexico border, saying that he had failed to uphold immigration laws set by Congress.
“Make no mistake,” said Abbott, “the border crisis that we’re dealing with right now is a direct result of the open border policies that have been put into place by the Biden administration.”
Abbott said that the Texas Department of Public Safety would be able to arrest people who illegally cross the barricades and borders as those people would be considered trespassing.
Immigration is a federal issue, and immigration is policed by Border Patrol agents, who are federal agents.
Abbott specified that the state’s barriers would allow the state to set up “no trespassing zones”, allowing the state to detain people who they otherwise would not have the jurisdiction to arrest.
The Governor praised Texans for stepping up and trying to stop the flow of migrants and drugs over the border.
He said that “Texas is stepping up, and doing more than any other state ever has done to respond to these challenges along the border.”
Representative Filemon Vela, who represents Cameron and part of Hidalgo County, said in a statement that the Governor’s assessment of the situation on the border was “blatantly false”.
Representative Vela called the state’s attempt to build a border wall an “un-american symbol of hatred” designed to separate and intimidate people.
Representative Vela also suggested that the Governor should focus on other matters such as the state’s power grid. You can read Representative Vela’s full statement below.
“As someone who represents constituents that live and work along our southern border, I know that the narrative of a violent and insecure border region is blatantly false. Governor Abbott’s press conference was empty on facts and a plan, and full of hateful rhetoric.
The border is not a war zone, and the wall Governor Abbott is trying to get Texans to pay for is not only a waste of their hard-earned money but also an un-American symbol of hatred that separates and intimidates our communities, harms our wildlife, and encroaches on landowner rights.
Americans spoke loud and clear last November when they overwhelmingly voted to oust Donald Trump and his “BUILD THE WALL” mantra. Abbott apparently has not gotten the message.
The governor needs to focus on the issues Texans care about: strengthening the integrity of our state’s power grid, getting Texans back to work and ensuring our state’s economy recovers from the ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic.”Rep. Filemon Vela (D) Texas