AUSTIN, Texas (KVEO) — During a press conference held Wednesday, Governor Greg Abbott shared plans to build a border wall in the state of Texas.
Abbott opened the press conference discussing the number of arrests at the border and the number of drugs coming across Texas’ border with Mexico.
“Texas is stepping up, and doing more than any other state has ever done to respond to these challenges along the border,” said Abbott adding the state had released a budget dedicated to border security.
“These are Texans’ taxpayer dollars that Texans shouldn’t have to be paying for because the federal government has a legal responsibility…to do it, but because they are not doing it, Texas’ taxpayers are having to step up, so that we as a state can protect our citizens,” said Abbott.
Previously Abbott initiated Operation Lone Star, a border initiative put in place and enforced across the Southern Texas Mexico border by The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS).
Abbott also spoke on the disaster declarations issued in 34 border counties.
“Since I went down to Del Rio…[the conversation] was to issue second disaster declaration.”
Abbott stated counties are already asking to be part of the second declaration.
The disaster declaration focus on arresting anybody that enters the state illegally, Abbott said. He added DPS would work with local law enforcement to make the arrests.
“The ability for us to be able to arrest people coming across the border is going to be enhanced by Texas building border barriers,” said Abbott. “Some of those barriers are being built immediately and that includes things like fencing.”
Abbott said at the time of the press conference, officials were speaking to landowners on the border about placing fences on their land.
After announcing Texas would build a border wall, Governor Abbott described how the plan would begin and how it would be structured.
“We start by hiring a program manager.”
The program manager would oversee the plans and then hire contractors and subcontractors to be able to complete the project.
To speed the process and lower the price, the project manager will look into the land available to build the wall by identifying state land and land that private landowners and local governments can “volunteer” for the wall.
“The combination of state land, as well as volunteer land, will yield hundreds of miles to build a border wall in Texas.”
No exact cost or details of the design of the wall was given, stating engineers and architects working on the project would be able to provide those answers later.
Abbot signed a letter to the Executive Director of the Texas Facilities Commission directing them to hire a program manager to begin the project.
A second letter provides a $250 million down payment to begin construction of the border wall. The money would be used to hire a project manager and the contractors needed.
“We are committed to adding more resources as needed.”
Abbott also sent a letter to President Biden demanding the administration return land taken from Texas to build the border wall.
Abbot announced a website where those interested to fund the wall can go to donate.
The donations will be overseen by two agencies: the Texas Division of Emergency Management and the Office of the Governor.
“We expect full transparency… the public will know all the money coming in and how that money is being used.”