WORLD Texas goes it alone on plan for border wall

WORLD

Texas goes it alone on plan for border wall

China Daily Global

14:13, June 15, 2021

A US Border Patrol agent plays rock-throwing with asylum-seeking migrants who crossed the Rio Bravo river to turn themselves to request for asylum in El Paso, Texas, May 14, 2021. (Photo: Agencies)

With illegal border crossings into the United States at a 20-year high, the governor of Texas wants to build a wall between his state and Mexico.

"President (Joe) Biden's open-border policies have led to a humanitarian crisis at our southern border as record levels of illegal immigrants, drugs and contraband pour into Texas," Republican Governor Greg Abbott said on Thursday in his border "summit" in the Texas city of Del Rio. "While securing the border is the federal government's responsibility, Texas will not sit idly by as this crisis grows."

Abbott, who said he would sign state budget bills that allocate more than $1 billion for border security, said he would provide specifics on the wall plan this week.

US authorities intercepted more than 180,000 migrants in May, a two-decade high according to Customs and Border Protection, or CBP, data released last week.

Abbott announced that Texas and Arizona will invoke the Emergency Management Assistance Compact, in which Abbott and Arizona Governor Doug Ducey, also a Republican, are asking other states to send law enforcement officials to assist in arresting and jailing migrants.

The two governors are seeking resources such as drones and helicopters to help landowners deal with damage to their property.

But Domingo Garcia, national president of the League of United Latin American Citizens, told The Texas Tribune: "States don't have authority over immigration and our borders. That's a federal authority. It's not constitutional, and we're planning to challenge it in court once we see the final order."

"I'm guessing that the federal government absolutely will step in and try to prevent this," Natalie Nanasi, a professor of immigration law at Southern Methodist University, told CBS.

The latest CBP data also shows an increase in the number of migrants from outside of Mexico and Central America. The CBP detained 40,067 from other countries last month, compared with 9,671 in January. Some of the migrants came from Brazil, Cuba, Ecuador, Haiti and from African nations, The Washington Post reported.

The number of unaccompanied teenagers and children arriving at the southwest border, however, dropped last month to 14,158 from 17,148 in April.

The Biden administration is using a pandemic emergency rule called Title 42, which allows border agents to quickly turn away most single adults and families, handing them over to Mexican authorities. The administration has exempted unaccompanied minors from the policy.

The Biden administration on Friday announced plans to return to the Pentagon roughly $2 billion in unspent military construction funds diverted by the Trump administration for a border wall, which was former president Donald Trump's signature issue. On the day of his inauguration, Biden issued an executive order halting construction of the border wall.

Vice-President Kamala Harris traveled to Guatemala and Mexico last week where she met with the leaders of both nations to discuss ways to stem the flow of migrants.

"Do not come. Do not come," she repeated in Guatemala, which some Democrats said was too blunt, while some Republicans have criticized her for not yet visiting the US border with Mexico.

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