It was just a matter of time before Republican-controlled border states start taking border security into their own hands…and that’s just what Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas is doing.
The Texas Senate approved House Bill 9 on Tuesday to allocate $1.88 billion toward border security, a move that nearly triples state spending after already approving $1.05 billion earlier this year, The Texas Tribune reported.
Building the border wall along the U.S.-Mexico border — after former President Donald Trump’s border wall construction was halted by President Joe Biden — is among the border security initiatives.
The Senate passed the bill 23-8, and proponents denounced the Biden administration’s lack of action to secure the southern border as necessitating the massive spending package.
Texas GOP Gov. Greg Abbott, who is seeking reelection for a third term next year, has led the charge in securing state funds for border security that is no longer being provided by the Biden administration.
He launched Operation Lone Star in March to deploy military and police to aid local and federal authorities in rooting out human and drug trafficking into Texas, and declared a June disaster emergency in 34 counties hit by large increases in illegal border crossings, the Tribune reported.
Tuesday’s spending measure approved by the Senate gives Abbott more than $1 billion, including about $750 million for border wall construction. The Texas Department of Criminal Justice already transferred $250 million from its budget in June as a “down payment” for the border wall, according to the Tribune.
Abbott’s office called the funding a “reasonable place to start,” noting there might be more needed for wall construction down the road.
An online crowdfunding campaign also provided $54 million in private donations for the wall, according to the report.
Senate Democrats in opposition claimed there is a better way to fund a secure southern border in Texas, but many have voiced support because of their constituencies.
There are Texas Senate Democrats supportive of a border wall because of their constituencies, including state Sens. Eddie Lucio Jr., D-Brownsville, and Juan Hinojosa, D-McAllen.
Among the other spending items in the bill, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice will be reimbursed for its down payment and will be funded to convert three state detention centers into migrant detention facilities. Additionally, the Texas military will be fully reimbursed for its 2,500 National Guard troops who were deployed to the border.
Author: Asa McCue