McALLEN, Texas – Government Greg Abbott of Texas said Thursday that the state would build a border wall with Mexico, which provides little detail on construction that will expand one of Donald J. Trump’s preferred projects.
It is unclear whether the state has the authority to build a wall in an effort to deter immigrants, the majority of whom flee poverty and violence from Central America.
At a meeting with government officials in Del Rio, a small border town with a large influx of immigrants since President Biden took office in January, Abbott said he expects to announce more details on the wall next week.
Mr. Abbott explained that he would begin by setting up barriers to identify people trying to cross the border and by using additional law enforcement agents to assist the Border Patrol. He blamed the increase in migratory crossings on the fact that Mr. Pray the dismantling of Mr. Trump’s restrictive border rules.
“It’s out of control and a change is needed,” he said. “Some of these border barriers will be built immediately.”
Then the governor revealed, to thunderous applause, that Texas would build a boundary wall as well.
“While the federal government has a responsibility to secure the border, Texas will not stand still as this crisis escalates,” he said. Abbott said, adding: ‘Our efforts will only be effective if we work together to secure the border, carry out criminal arrests, protect landowners, free our communities from dangerous drugs and provide Texans with the necessary support. ”
In March, Mr. Abbott, whom he called Operation Lone Star, launched the deployment of hundreds of agents and resources along the southwestern border to combat the smuggling of people, drugs and guns, said Victor Escalon, a regional director of the Texas Department of Public Safety. But the decision to build a boundary wall could be a first for a state government.
Abbott’s announcement was quickly criticized by immigration lawyers, who said it likely faced legal challenges.
“There is no substantive plan,” said Edna Yang, co-CEO of American Gateways, an immigration legal aid and advocacy group in Texas. “It will not make any border community or county safer.”
Texas American Civil Liberties Union tweeted“To be clear, this is an attempt to distract from his government failures while targeting vulnerable immigrants.”
Mr. Trump has made a promise from the border wall to sign a campaign and has regularly urged his homeland security officials to expedite construction of the project, while in the process renouncing federal contracting and environmental laws.
During his campaign, Mr. Trump promised that Mexico would pay for the wall, but instead diverted billions of dollars from the Department of Defense’s funds that were initially intended for narcotics or construction programs. His administration eventually built more than 450 kilometers of new wall, mainly in areas where dilapidated barriers previously stood. Most of the construction was in Arizona, where migrants are already struggling through rough terrain to cross the border, rather than in South Texas, an area prone to illegal crossings.
Private landowners in South Texas have emerged as an obstacle to building Mr. Trump, and many, resisted the government’s attempts to seize their land. And then Mr. Biden suspended the construction of the wall on his first day in office, as part of a series of actions to carry back Trump’s immigration agenda.
The government of Biden and Mr. Abbott clashed over the handling of the thousands of underage minors who have been across the border in recent months. The government could not divert federal funds earmarked for disaster relief to help process the border when Mr. Abbott refuses to give his consent.
At the time, Mr. Abbott said the federal government, not Texas, was responsible for controlling the border.
When the migrating children filled prison facilities run by the Border Patrol, the Biden government responded by opening temporary facilities in a Dallas convention center, a sports arena in San Antonio, and other vacant locations across the country. While Vice President Kamala Harris was in Guatemala this week, she discouraged potential migrants from traveling to the border and told them, “Do not come.”
The Biden government continues to use an emergency rule for pandemics, known as Title 42, which empowers border agents to quickly turn away most single adults and many families crossing the border into the hands of Mexican authorities. Mr. Biden has exempted minor children from the policy, which prevents most other migrants from getting the chance to apply for asylum.
However, some families were able to move to Texas due to a change in Mexican law banning the detention of small immigrant children, and a lack of shelter capacity south of the border. Instead of keeping those families together, U.S. authorities release a lot in Texas communities.