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Governor Greg Abbott unveils border wall construction in the Rio Grande Valley

Governor Greg Abbott unveiling new border wall construction in Rio Grande City
Office Of The Governor, 12/18/21
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You can read this story in Spanish by clicking here

Governor Greg Abbott debuted a newly constructed section of border fence in Starr County at a press conference on Saturday. The project is part of Abbott’s plan to stop and deter unlawful entry along the South Texas border and is both tax-payer and privately funded.

The seven-mile structure in Rio Grande City is one portion of a barrier the state plans to build along the entire Texas-Mexico border. At the conference, the governor did not specify a scope or budget for the entire barrier project.

“I’m going to tell you that the projected range is we're going to spend as much as it takes to build as much wall as we possibly can,” Abbott said.

The governor approved a $250 million downpayment to begin construction in early summer. The Texas legislature then approved $1.8 billion for border security, including funding for building the wall. Additionally, the project has received over $54 million from private donors, of which 98% came from one donor, and continues to take donations.

President Joe Biden’s termination of the prior administration’s initiative to build the wall led Abbott to implement his own version on a state level.

The Department of Homeland Security’s statement on its decision to cancel border wall construction says there are more effective unlawful entry-mitigation strategies like modernizing ports of entry.

Environmental activists say the structure skirts regulations and border wall critics say it’s ineffective.

“This border wall that you see behind us is a replication of the border wall that President Trump put up. Same material, same concept,” Abbott said.

Despite lack of federal support, the state will continue construction on state and private property.

“The federal government has no authority whatsoever to interfere with our ability to build this wall and to secure our state,” he said.

Carolina Cuellar reports for Texas Public Radio from the city of McAllen where she covers business and border issues. Her position is made possible by Report For America — a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.