The governor desires to complete the wall surface that Donald Trump began on the Texas-Mexico border, however he"ll need to overcome the exact same hurdles that impeded the ex-president"s efforts.

through Uriel J. García and also Mandi Cai July 16, 20214 AM main


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segments of the an initial border wall in Texas developed after chairman Trump take it office, close to Donna in 2019. Gov. Greg Abbott said Texas plan to usage state funds and donations to continue wall surface construction. Credit: REUTERS/Verónica G. Cárdenas
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In 2006, chairman George W. Shrub signed the secure Fence act that resulted in the building and construction of 654 miles of fencing end nine years along the U.S.-Mexico border. President Donald Trump was even an ext ambitious, promising in campaign speeches that Mexico would pay for a wall along the 2,000-mile border.

Ultimately, Trump’s management erected around 80 miles of new barrier before he left office, including 21 at the Texas-Mexico border, paid for by the U.S. Government. Now, Gov. Greg Abbott, a Trump support who has actually raised his rhetoric on immigrant in recent years, has taken top top the high order of building a wall along the 1,200-mile Texas-Mexico border.

Currently, there room 111 mile of completed obstacle at the Texas-Mexico border. Because border obstacles are typically developed some street from the Rio Grande, which has plenty of bends and also curves, it"s unsure how numerous miles of obstacle would be required to sheathe the whole border.


Abbott has not in-depth how countless miles of obstacle the state plans to develop — or precisely where. However to make the promise a reality, the governor’s an initial big hurdle is money. The state has set aside at least $250 million because that the effort, Abbott said, and also then solicited donations indigenous the public. As of July 14, human being have donated $829,000.

That would fund between 7 and 43 mile of barrier, based on the per-mile expenses of the contract initiated by the trumped administration, follow to a Texas Tribune analysis. The contracts, i beg your pardon were placed on hold by the Biden administration, ranged indigenous $6 million come $34 million every mile for wall surface construction.


Beyond the capital challenge, Abbott should expect yearslong legit challenges and also opposition from personal land owners, environmentalists and also border residents that could delay or derail his setup for a wall, experts, lawyers and advocates say.

But the biggest hurdle he will challenge is the federal government, i m sorry is i can not qualify to give any federal soil — or the personal land the Trump administration seized — to Texas for wall surface construction. ~ above his an initial day in office, chairman Biden issued an executive, management order calling the border wall surface a “waste of money” and saying that it to be “not a serious plan solution.” His order also halted 173 miles of border construction previously approved by the trumped administration.


“I perform think branch Abbott is serious in his intentionally to develop a border wall. I don"t think the they have taken the steps crucial to resolve the really complexities involved,” claimed David Donatti, a employee attorney for the American civil Liberties Union of Texas.

For example, he added that a wall surface near the Rio Grande might aggravate flooding in border communities.

“I definitely don"t think the they"ve really assumed through the devastating implications that what they"re proposing, or the full level of the results of building a border wall,” the said.

Unlike the border in California, Arizona or new Mexico, which mainly is federal, or in some cases tribal, land, much of the Texas-Mexico border is privately owned, v some owner holding location to their property because the 1760s. Texas does very own some land, such as state parks and wildlife preserves.


Both the Bush and Trump administrations faced legal and logistical challenges with building a border obstacle in Texas.

According come a 2020 federal government Accountability Office report, the Trump management faced delays that 21 to 30 months to take end privately-owned land in south Texas. The report said comparable land acquisitions in other parts the the nation took a year.

If Texas seeks to develop on exclusive land, “it’s walking to it is in a slow and also painful process,” stated César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández, an immigration attorney and law professor at Ohio State University.

Another hurdle Abbott will many likely challenge is commonwealth regulations aimed in ~ protecting the environment, water quality and historic sites. The Trump management waived numerous of those rule to speed up the wall construction, regardless of pushback native environmentalists.


The Biden administration isn’t most likely to ignore those laws for Abbott’s wall project, stated Scott Nicol, a McAllen-based environmental activist and also author that a 2018 ACLU report assessing the effects of a border wall.

“Those are regulations that protect Native American graves, over there are legislations that are meant to protect family farms,” Nicol said. “Abbott"s walk to have to comply through all those laws. Trumped didn"t. That ideal there is walking to cause large headaches.”

Abbott’s office did not respond to emailed questions around how the state plans to overcome the obstacles of structure a wall.

“The problems along the border room only getting worse due to President Biden"s inaction,” Abbott said throughout a June push conference announcing the state-funded wall. “Property is being destroyed, deadly drugs and also illegal weapons room being smuggled into neighborhoods throughout the state, law enforcement is having to redirect your resources and county judges and mayors are facing skyrocketing expenses.”


Abbott had claimed a catastrophe along some border counties, which could enable him to waive part state and also local regulations. But “it would certainly not expand to federal law, since federal law is supreme to the legislations of the state the Texas,” Donatti said.

Ronald Rael, an design professor in ~ the university of California, Berkeley, claimed logistically it’s possible for Texas to build a wall surface along some border lands, but it would come at the expense of destroying “some the the many pristine and fragile habitats the we have in the unified States.”

Jenn Budd, a former Border Patrol agent, stated that barriers or walls make that harder for migrants to overcome the border, forcing them to seek help from smugglers linked to drug cartels whose project is to discover ways about those barriers.

“Our deterrence policies, ours fencing, ours walls, simply make the a little bit harder come cross, but it doesn"t avoid it,” she said. “And more than anything, the funnels migrants into places whereby have more control.”


Correction, Aug. 23, 2021: An earlier version of this story relied top top incomplete data provided to The Texas Tribune by U.S. Customs and also Border Protection, consisting of an incomplete list of border obstacle contracts started by the Trump management and incorrect info on dollar quantities and number of miles of wall surface for part contracts. The total variety of contracts is 22, no 18. The total dollar quantity of the contract is $3.4 billion, not $2.8 billion. The number of miles covered by the contract is 243, no 280.Based ~ above CBP’s incorrect data, the story originally proclaimed that a big of around 69 miles close to Laredo was contracted for $299 million in ~ $4 million every mile when, in fact, about 70 miles near Laredo to be contracted because that $1 exchange rate at nearly $15 million every mile. And also based on the incorrect CPB data, the story said that the state funds set aside by Gov. Greg Abbott, combined with private donations for the wall as the July 14, would fund in between 7 and also 62 miles of barrier. The money would fund in between 7 and 43 miles of barrier.

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