AUSTIN (Nexstar) — Lawmakers on the Texas House Appropriations Committee gave initial approval Monday to a $1.5 billion expenditure for border wall construction, expanding the governor’s budget for Operation Lone Star.
Texas has spent nearly $10 billion on border security efforts during Gov. Greg Abbott’s tenure as the state moves to repel and detain migrants in tandem with the federal government. The governor’s office argued Monday that additional border wall will help the Department of Public Safety free up resources and patrol the border with fewer troopers.
The expansion targets the Rio Grande Valley region, though exact locations and specifications of the wall remain uncertain. Border enforcement personnel were weary to disclose exact details, citing concerns that drug cartels may abuse that information.
Democrats expressed concern that the state should make this substantial investment without more information about the efficacy, locations, and vendors of the new wall sections.
Local law enforcement officers on the border expressed gratitude for Operation Lone Star’s efforts.
“The problem with the border, securing America, is the federal government’s responsibility. However, I fully support what Governor Abbott has done because I have benefitted from it, not just as a US Border Patrol agent but also as a sheriff,” Terrell County Sheriff Thaddeus Cleveland told Nexstar. “We have seen funding come into our county that we otherwise wouldn’t see, and also as a Border Patrol agent, that partnership with DPS troopers and Texas Parks and Wildlife game wardens — all of us working together is beneficial.”
The funding measure will come out of this year’s budget and given to the governor’s office discretion. The bill passed 14-9 in committee and is now eligible for consideration by the full House.