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Texas governor announces $250 million ‘down payment’ on state-funded border wall

Kaylee Greenlee, DCNF

Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced a $250 million “down payment” on the state-funded border wall with Mexico on Wednesday.

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice initiated a transfer of $250 million to the governor’s disaster fund to pay for the state’s response to the border crisis, according to Abbott’s office. The funds will be used as a down payment to hire a program manager and contractors to begin construction on the border wall.

“The Biden Administration has abandoned its responsibilities to secure the border and Texans are suffering as a result,” Abbott said in a statement. “The problems along the border are only getting worse due to President Biden’s inaction.”

“Property is being destroyed, deadly drugs and illegal weapons are being smuggled into communities throughout the state, law enforcement is having to redirect their resources, and county judges and mayors are facing skyrocketing expenses,” Abbott added.

The future project manager will be responsible for identifying state and private land that local governments or landowners can volunteer for wall construction, according to Abbott’s office. 

Abbott demanded President Joe Biden return land seized by the federal government for wall construction, in a letter signed Wednesday. State officials will negotiate with those property owners about potential use for construction after it is returned.

“Texas is doing more than any state has ever done to protect the border, but it is clear that more is needed,” Abbott said in a statement. “In the Biden Administration’s absence, Texas is stepping up to get the job done by building the border wall. Through this comprehensive public safety effort, we will secure the border, slow the influx of unlawful immigrants, and restore order in our border communities.”

Texas’ state budget allocated a record $1.1 billion for border security, according to Abbott. Abbott noted a donation page managed by the Texas Division of Emergency Management where anyone can contribute to funding the border wall.

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