Texas will use $250 million of state money and crowdsourced funds for construction of a new portion of border wall at the Texas-Mexico border.
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said recently that he will use $250 million in state money and crowdsourced financing to build more barriers along the U.S. border with Mexico.
But questions remain over how far Abbott, a Republican, can go for a project whose total cost, length and timeline are unclear and could face legal challenges from the federal government.
More than a dozen Republican members of the Texas House and Senate joined Abbott for a livestreamed press conference announcing his intentions to hire a project manager to continue constructing some version of a wall announced, echoing former President Donald Trump's unfinished campaign promise to fortify the southern U.S. border, of which 1,200 mi. is in Texas. Abbott also said he is asking the federal government to return land obtained for the U.S. government's wall and return it to private citizens who can allow Texas to finish the job.
"In response to the federal government's neglect of all of the people who live along the border, the people who are facing the consequences of the spread of drugs like fentanyl, Texas is stepping up and doing more than any other state ever has done to respond to these challenges along the border," Abbott said. "Texas taxpayers are having to step up so we as a state can protect our citizens."
State Sen. Jane Nelson, chair of the state Senate Finance Committee, said in the press conference that the $250 million in state money — that Abbott referred to as a down payment — was being allocated as authorized under emergency orders. She did not clarify where the public money came from originally, but in a letter released later by Abbott's office the governor said it would come from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice's budget.
The state also has set up a webpage and post office box so anyone can donate money for Abbott's wall.
President Joe Biden suspended construction of a border wall upon taking office, and his administration recently announced a plan to divert funding from what was former President Donald Trump's signature project. Trump's project is more formidable than barriers it replaced, but it isn't uncommon for smugglers to guide people over or through it. Portions can be sawed with power tools sold at home improvement stores.
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