WORLD Texas governor allots $250m for wall

WORLD

Texas governor allots $250m for wall

China Daily Global

12:22, June 18, 2021

Texas Governor Greg Abbott speaks at the annual National Rifle Association (NRA) convention in Dallas, Texas, US, on May 4, 2018. (Photo: Agencies)

Last week, Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced that he intended to build a wall along the border with Mexico and said more details would be forthcoming this week.

On Wednesday, Abbott gave some of those details: He will set aside $250 million from the state's general revenue as a down payment and hire a project manager. That person would determine the total cost of the project and the length of the wall, Abbott said, adding that more details would emerge later.

Abbott signed a letter to the Texas Facilities Commission on Wednesday directing them to hire the project manager who in turn would hire contractors and subcontractors. The project manager and contractors will identify land already owned by the state and land owned by local governments or private citizens who can "volunteer" that land for the wall, he said.

The combination of state and volunteer land is expected to yield "hundreds of miles" to build the wall, the governor said, and state agencies have begun talking to land holders about putting up fencing on their private land.

Abbott said the state would solicit donations to help build the wall.

"For everybody in the United States, really everybody in the entire world who wants to help Texas build the border wall, there will be a place on there where they can contribute to Texas building the border wall," he said.

Abbott said donations could be made on a website for the border wall or by sending a check in the mail. He said donations would go to a fund that would be overseen by the state and governor's office.

"Great transparency, everyone will know every penny in, every penny out, and the sole purpose of the funds will be to build the border wall," he said.

Abbott blamed President Joe Biden for the increase of migrants crossing the Texas border.

"The Biden administration has abandoned its responsibilities to secure the border and Texans are suffering as a result," he said. "In the Biden administration's absence, Texas is stepping up to get the job done by building the border wall."

Abbott said he will send a letter to Biden requesting the federal government to return land the Trump administration took from private property owners in Texas to build the border wall.

Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush said Wednesday he would grant emergency authorization for the building of a border wall on state lands of about 591,595 acres along the border.

It will take a lot of money to complete the Texas border wall. It has been reported that the Trump wall along the Texas border -- an 11.4-mile stretch— cost about $27 million a mile. The border along Texas and Mexico stretches 1,254 miles long.

David Donatti, a staff attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas, said Wednesday that state officials are trying to "revive the most heinous and harmful policies and political theater of the Trump administration".

"In doing so, they are asserting groundless and white supremacist talking points about an 'invasion', and through their rhetoric and proposed action are the ones threatening our homes and communities," he said in a statement.

Abbott's not alone in saying he wants a wall. His Republican primary challenger Don Huffines promised in May if elected, "We will build our own wall without the federal government, and we're not going to ask their permission to do it. It will be a Texas wall."

But Huffines gave few details on how he would do it because the state has little authority to do so, given that much of the land is privately or federally owned.

On Wednesday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said that his state's law enforcement officers will go to Texas and Arizona to help with border control.

DeSantis' announcement at a news conference in Pensacola came after Abbott and Arizona Governor Doug Ducey sent a letter last week to governors of the 48 other states requesting assistance in battling illegal immigration at the border with Mexico.

Details on the number of Florida officers who will be deployed, where they will go and the costs to Florida taxpayers have not been determined, DeSantis said.

The Florida Highway Patrol, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Florida Fish & Wildlife Commission and several sheriffs' offices have agreed to send officers for up to 16 days to Texas and Arizona, he said.

Democratic Representative Anna Eskamaniof Orlando called the action by DeSantis "another political stunt".


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