During a border-security conference in the U.S. border city of Del Rio Thursday, Republican Governor Greg Abbott signaled his intention to jumpstart border-wall construction on Texas territory straddling Mexico.
“I will announce next week the plan for the state of Texas to begin building the border wall in the state of Texas. The border crisis is no laughing matter. It’s not a tourism site for members of Congress to visit and then return to D.C. and do nothing,” he remarked.
Upon assuming office, President Joe Biden suspended all border barrier projects, pending review, via executive order. President Trump had diverted military funding to continue building the wall after he failed to acquire financing for it in the 2019 budget, but the Pentagon then canceled those contracts in April.
However, in May it was revealed that the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) would resume construction to repair a 13.4 mile stretch of levee in the Rio Grande Valley and install a concrete levee wall fit to prevent flooding, following pressure from local residents and elected officials.
The Texas governor commented that the massive influx of migrants pouring into the state is adversely affecting local industries and communities, as well as overwhelming border security and police personnel.
“One thing we know and that is a border crisis is plaguing the farmers, the ranchers, the residents of the entire border region. Your law enforcement officers, they are having to redirect their resources to deal with the border as opposed to deal what they normally deal with which is keeping your communities safe every day,” Abbott said.
Abbott’s summit speech comes after he alleged last month that the Biden administration’s relaxed border policies are contributing to the massive spike in drug apprehension, especially of the deadly narcotic fentanyl, into Texas. Abbott said he planned to deploy 1,000 Texas Department of Public Safety troopers and National Guard members to combat the drug trafficking.
During the briefing Thursday, Abbott said that the Biden administration’s neglect of border enforcement has created the migrant surge and border crisis, referencing annual increases in border crossings.
Border authorities encountered 180,034 people trying to enter the country illegally in May, the highest number in more than two decades.