Texas to build its OWN border wall as Governor Abbott ramps up illegal-immigration feud with Biden

Governor Greg Abbott said Texas will address an escalating security crisis by building its own border wall and making mass arrests to deter illegal aliens, after the Biden administration opened up the migrant floodgates.

Construction of some border barriers will begin immediately, Abbott said on Thursday at a security summit in Del Rio, Texas. Plans to start building a border wall will be announced next week. The Republican governor used the occasion to sign budget legislation setting aside more than $1 billion for border-security measures, as well as an interstate pact with Arizona to assist each other amid the crisis.

“We are going to do everything we can to secure the border, and it begins immediately, today, right here in Val Verde County,” he told a cheering crowd. The full solution will require actions by Congress and the White House, however.

The biggest applause erupted after Abbott announced the border wall, resuscitating an effort that began under former President Donald Trump. Work on wall sections from Arizona to Texas was halted when President Joe Biden took office in January. Biden has vowed not to build “another foot” of wall on the US-Mexico border.

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Unaccompanied migrant children from Central America line up to board a U.S. border patrol bus after crossing the Rio Grande river into the United States from Mexico, in Roma, Texas, U.S., May 20, 2021. © REUTERS/Adrees Latif
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Abbott said Biden's policies led to an unprecedented surge in migrant traffic, with border apprehensions soaring 10-fold from a year earlier to more than 170,000 in April, then topping 180,000 in May. The result has been damage to crops and livestock on Texas farms and ranches, as well as increasing home invasions, drug-trafficking and human-trafficking, he argued. Texas Rangers reported an 800% surge in Fentanyl seizures in this year's first four months, capturing enough of the drug to kill 21 million people.

“You should not have to face that danger in your community, and change is needed,” Abbott said.

Cartels, drug smugglers and human traffickers are profiting from the crisis, and illegal migrants are flowing in from 160 countries – including such non-traditional locales as Senegal, Bangladesh and Uzbekistan – Abbott said.

Last month, Abbott issued a disaster declaration in 34 Texas counties to free up more state resources to fight “criminal activities stemming from Biden's border crisis.” He said another disaster declaration will be made next week, expanding the effort.

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A caravan of Honduran migrants is shown in January trying to cross the border into Guatemala on their trek toward the US.
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The security push will include enlisting state and local law enforcement officers to arrest illegal aliens for crimes ranging from trespassing to criminal mischief to drug smuggling. Abbott said prosecutors will be called upon to obtain convictions, and additional jail space will be provided to accommodate the expected surge in prisoners.

Those efforts will help create an environment in which illegal aliens don't want to cross into Texas “because it's not what they were expecting, it's not the red carpet that the federal administration rolled out to them,” Abbott said. “They are going to jail in the state of Texas.”

The state government also will help Texas landowners obtain compensation from the federal government for damages resulting from Biden administration policies.

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FILE PHOTO © REUTERS/Callaghan O'Hare
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