Engineers and mathematicians would call it an elegant solution. Texas is facing two problems: heavily encumbered “stimulus” dollars coming from the federal government, and a surge of migrants at our southern border that’s reaching crisis-level proportions.
The solution to both is simple. Let’s use stimulus funds to build more wall.
President Biden paused construction of the border wall, fulfilling a campaign promise to would-be migrants. That pause ended on March 20, but there’s no indication that he’s had a change of heart. And some 40 Republican senators are asking the General Accounting Office to release the funds, allowing construction to resume.
In short, the border wall has become a political football, while people suffer.
Make no mistake, people are suffering because of Biden’s open-borders policy. It starts with the transnational criminal organizations that traffic migrants for exorbitant fees, and subject them to abuses ranging from rape and assault to murder if it seems convenient, or if the authorities get close. Many are kidnapped along the way and held for ransom, to be paid either by their families back home or by relatives or friends already in the U.S.
Biden’s election has been great for their business. It caused excitement in the Northern Triangle countries of El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala, as well as in Mexico. Even the New York Times now admits that the “migrants’ hopes have been drummed up by human smugglers who promise that President Biden’s administration will welcome them.”
Traffic at the border is “piling up,” even as authorities here and in Mexico struggle to keep up. The Biden administration has now leased a Dallas convention center to house thousands of unaccompanied teenage boys, all hoping to stay in the United States.
Biden himself is belatedly realizing the damage his policies have done. On Tuesday, he appeared on ABC News and urged immigrants, “Don’t come over. Don’t leave your town or city or community.”
It will take more than that to staunch the flow of illegal immigration. It will take a resumption of the successful policies of the Trump administration, including the “Remain in Mexico” policy and the wall.
We need not wait for the feds, though. We can build more wall ourselves.
That would be an appropriate use of the stimulus funding, even though Democrats earmarked much of it and attached rules that are intended to force Texas and other conservative states to adopt more liberal policies (the funds can’t be used to cut taxes, for example). It’s a massive spoonful of Keynesian economics to help the medicine go down.
But Texas need not play along. We can use the stimulus money in a way that will truly help Texans, by securing the border.
There’s already a bill in the legislature that would authorize construction. Authored by state representative Bryan Slaton (R., Royse City), it would also require Governor Greg Abbott to seek reimbursement from the feds for the cost.
What better source of those funds than the fat check that’s already on its way?
Let’s do it. Let’s build the wall ourselves.
Kevin Roberts is executive director of the Texas Public Policy Foundation.