Texas officials for months have been begging the Biden Administration for help as migrants overwhelm Border Patrol agents. This week, desperate lawmakers authorized $250 million as a “down payment” for border wall construction in Texas.
“While securing the border is the federal government’s responsibility, Texas will not sit idly by as this crisis grows,” said Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R), who plans to solicit public donations to help fund the wall.
In March, Texas deployed 500 National Guard troops and 1,200 state police officers to assist Border Patrol agents and the 3,600 National Guard troops already stationed there. At the time, migrant apprehensions since President Joe Biden’s inauguration had already eclipsed totals for 2020.
“In response to the federal government’s neglect of all 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,” said Abbott.
Since January, Border Patrol Agents have seized 95 pounds of the synthetic opioid fentanyl (enough to kill 21 million people) compared to a total of 11 pounds during 2020.
In addition to the surge in illicit drugs, Biden’s immigration policies have also led to “increased illegal crossings, damage to Texans’ crops and property, larger rates of human trafficking and smuggling,” and “a dangerous escalation in cartel violence,” reads a letter from Abbott and other top lawmakers to Bryan Collier, executive director of the state’s Department of Criminal Justice.
According to the letter, the $250 million down payment will go towards the “design and construction of physical barriers on voluntarily donated private and public lands that border this state and Mexico.” The money will be transferred to a disaster fund before it is moved to the Texas Facilities Commission for border wall construction. Last week, Abbott directed the commission to hire a project manager to start drafting plans for wall construction.
As Texas moves forward with plans to resume construction, Abbott has demanded the Biden Administration return any property or land that they seized when they paused border wall construction in January. He is also asking other states to help if they can.
Last Wednesday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) said he would send law enforcement officials from the Sunshine State to assist Border Patrol agents in Texas and Arizona.
“The situation right now is far more dire and far more dangerous than it has ever been during the course of at least this century – maybe ever before – and that’s because of these numbers that you heard about people coming across the border but also the danger, and the way that the cartels and the smugglers are operating,” warns Abbott. “This crisis is a result of President Biden’s open border policies…It invites illegal immigration and is creating a humanitarian crisis in Texas right now that will grow increasingly worse by the day.”
May was the busiest month at the border so far this year, with roughly 180,000 encounters made. If the present situation continues, experts from the Government Accountability Office predict a need for military support at the border for three or more years.