RIO GRANDE CITY, Texas (KXAN) — On Saturday, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott held an event in Rio Grande City to debut actions taken by the state to build a border wall at the U.S.-Mexico border.
During the event, Abbott once again laid blame for border conditions at the feet of Pres. Joe Biden and his administration.
“Texas is taking what truly is unprecedented by any state ever — for a state to build a wall on our border to secure and safeguard the sovereignty of the United States, as well as our own state,” said Abbott on Saturday. “And this unprecedented action is needed for one single reason. And that’s because the Biden administration has failed to do its job as required by the Constitution and as required by laws passed by Congress to enforce the immigration laws of the United States of America.”
The governor claims uncontrolled illegal immigration at the Texas border has resulted in over 1.2 million people being apprehended. Abbott said that people aren’t only illegally immigrating from Mexico, but are using the Texas border to get in from several countries across the globe, including China and Russia.
Despite criticisms from the GOP, the Biden administration has kept at least two Trump-era border policies in place, including the Migrant Protection Protocols (which allows undocumented non-Mexican migrants who are caught to be sent to Mexico rather than their country of origin) and Title 42 (which allows undocumented migrants to be immediately deported for COVID-19 reasons, without allowing asylum).
Abbott, who was joined by several state officials, said current border policies allow human smuggling and drug trafficking to come into Texas and the rest of the U.S. — particularly the deadly synthetic fentanyl.
“Enough fentanyl [has been found] to kill every man, woman and child in Texas, California, New York, Illinois and Florida combined,” Abbott said, pointing to rising fentanyl overdose deaths nationwide. “Joe Biden has facilitated the death of those people by the open border policies that he has allowed to take place here in Texas.”
The border wall, Abbott explained, is based on the same material and concept as that of the wall erected at certain parts of the border under the Trump presidency. During the event, Abbott demonstrated the strength of the fence’s steel beams by slamming a hammer atop a block of the material.
Abbott said Texas has received $54 million in individual donations for construction of the wall, adding that projected cost for finishing it is still to be determined.
“We’re going to spend as much as it takes to build as much wall as we possibly can,” Abbott said.
Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush joined Abbott at the border, stating that Texas is facing a border crisis “like none we’ve ever seen before.”
“Our state is facing a border crisis like none we’ve ever seen before. Washington continues to ignore it even as Texans’ lives are endangered, properties damaged, and record levels of harmful drugs pour into our communities,” said Bush. “We will not stop until this wall is built and our border is secure. Fighting for border security requires a team effort, and I thank Governor Abbott, the state legislature, and our other partner agencies for their support of this cause.”