Jun 16, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Texas governor announces $250M "down payment" for state border wall

Texas Governor Greg Abbott speaks during a press conference where he signed Senate Bills 2 and 3 at the Capitol on June 8, 2021 in Austin, Texas.

Gov. Greg Abbott during a June 8 press conferencein Austin, Texas. Photo: Montinique Monroe/Getty Images

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) announced Wednesday the state budget would provide $250 million as a "down payment" to help fund the construction of a wall at the state's border with Mexico.

Why it matters: Former President Trump pledged to build a wall along the southern border, but only 450 miles of new barriers had been completed by the end of his term, per the Washington Post.

  • President Biden terminated the national emergency declared by Trump used to fund his wall plans and is returning more than $2 billion redirected from Department of Defense projects for the border project.
  • Trump, who will visit the border with Abbott later this month, faced opposition from "private property owners unwilling to allow the federal government to build on their land," the Texas Tribune notes.

What's happening: Abbott told a news conference that his belief, per conversations he's had with officials, is that a "combination of state land as well as volunteer land will yield hundreds of miles to build a border wall in Texas."

  • He did not detail precisely how long he planned the wall to be nor its location, but he has directed the Texas Facilities Commission to hire a program manager to determine this, along with the total budget.
  • Abbott said the $250 million in funding was "more than enough to hire a project manager and contractor to begin building the wall," declaring: "Texas will build a border wall in our state to help secure our border."
  • He also called on the Biden administration to return land taken by the Trump administration for its border wall.

The other side: State Democratic Sen. Cesar Blanco told the Texas Tribune the border wall funding had not been discussed during conversations about the budget.

  • "Building a wall from El Paso to Brownsville is the most expensive and least effective way to do border security and it's a huge waste of taxpayer money," Blanco said.

What to watch: Abbott said he will write to Biden to ask for the return of land taken by the Trump administration to build a border wall.

  • He told the podcast Ruthless on Tuesday that he would seek donations from members of the public to fund the wall.
  • The Biden administration did not immediately respond to Axios' request for comment.

Go deeper: DHS to address damage caused by border wall construction

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