The Texas government is set to sign a contract with private firms to build hundreds of miles of wall along the state’s border with Mexico, continuing a federal project begun under former President Donald Trump.
The plan is to build an additional 700 miles of wall, according to a post on the website of the Texas Facilities Commission.
The agency announced that it had selected an engineering and design firm to oversee wall construction.
“The Texas Facilities Commission, which oversees state contracts, said in a statement it anticipates awarding the border wall project with more than $1 billion in available funding by mid-September,” the Washington Examiner added.
“The commissioners must vote on the decision before the contract for a program manager can be awarded, and the final monetary amount has not yet been determined. The program manager will handle the budget and determine where to build,” the outlet continued.
Over the summer, as illegal migrant crossings soared and state officials were unsuccessful in getting additional assistance from the Biden administration to stem the record numbers crossing into the state, Gov. Greg Abbott (R) announced that Texas would continue the previous administration’s border wall construction.
Donations to fund the wall have surpassed $54 million, Abbott’s office has announced. And last month, the Texas Legislature approved a $1.8 billion spending bill to combat illegal immigration, with nearly half going towards border wall construction, according to the Examiner.
The outlet reported that there is only a “substantive barrier” along just 150 miles of the 1,250-mile border Texas shares with Mexico.
State officials have identified 700 miles where border wall can be built.
In addition, the landowners have “agreed to let the state put up a barrier, which will allow Texas to avoid the lawsuits that held up the Trump administration’s efforts to seize private land for construction,” the Examiner noted.
“While securing the border is the federal government’s responsibility, Texas will not sit idly by as this crisis grows. Texas is responding with the most robust and comprehensive border plan the nation has ever seen,” Abbott said in an earlier statement.
“Open-border policies have led to a humanitarian crisis at our southern border as record levels of illegal immigrants, drugs, and contraband pour into Texas. The State of Texas is working collaboratively with communities impacted by the border crisis to arrest and detain individuals coming into Texas illegally,” he continued.
“Our efforts will only be effective if we work together to secure the border, make criminal arrests, protect landowners, rid our communities of dangerous drugs, and provide Texans with the support they need and deserve.”
Abbott posted a video in June of the border wall project, which had already begun.
Building the border barrier has begun.— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) June 28, 2021
The 1st step is to get easements on land.
The 2nd step is to clear the land for the building process.
That is what is happening here.
The Texas Facilities Commission is working to hire a program manager to oversee the entire process. pic.twitter.com/n9JUN0CymL
“President Biden’s open-border policies have paved the way for dangerous gangs and cartels, human traffickers, and deadly drugs like fentanyl to pour into our communities,” Abbott said in a June 1 declaration.
“Meanwhile, landowners along the border are seeing their property damaged and vandalized on a daily basis while the Biden Administration does nothing to protect them. Texas continues to step up to confront the border crisis in the federal government’s absence, but more must be done,” he continued.