Texas Governor Says State Will Build Its Own Border Wall After Biden Squashed Trump's Plan
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced plans last week for the state to build its own wall across the southern border with Mexico.
The move resurrects, in part, one of the most divisive projects of the Donald Trump administration that President Joe Biden squashed after he took office in January - saying it was a frivolous diversion from more important problems.
Abbott, 63, argued that a Texas border wall will "stem the flow of unlawful immigration and to stem the flow of illegal contraband."
The Republican governor also announced that the state will increase arrests along the border and increase capacities at state prisons, the Texas Tribune reported.
"They don't want to come to across the state of Texas anymore because it's not what they were expecting," Abbott said at a news conference on Thursday. "It's not the red carpet that the federal administration rolled out to them."
Abbott is up for re-election in 2022 against at least one Republican opponent who has hinged their campaign on constructing a state border wall.
The governor has not yet revealed further details about the project such as when construction would begin, the proposed wall's size and cost or where state officials would build it.
A spokesperson for Abbott told PEOPLE the administration "will announce more details in the coming days."
On Twitter, Abbott has attacked the Biden administration as a driving factor for his border wall plans.
"In the [federal government's] absence, Texas is taking additional action to secure the border & restore order," he wrote.
Biden, 78, stopped construction of Trump's border wall and redirected its funding after entering the White House.
"Like every nation, the United States has a right and a duty to secure its borders and protect its people against threats," Biden wrote in his proclamation in January.
"But building a massive wall that spans the entire southern border is not a serious policy solution," he added. "It is a waste of money that diverts attention from genuine threats to our homeland security."
Instead, the Biden administration has put its focus on the "root causes" of migration - including the financial and environmental factors that lead migrants to leave their native countries and come to the U.S. - while facing mounting scrutiny for how officials handle the increase of unaccompanied minors.
Vice President Kamala Harris, who Biden tasked with leading the White House's immigration effort, visited Guatemala and Mexico last week to meet with President Alejandro Giammattei and President Andrés Manuel López Obrador separately to discuss ways to address mass migrations from Central America.
There was an influx of people traveling from Central American countries like Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador earlier this year, with migrants and human rights advocates citing economic and social inequalities exacerbated in many cases by climate change.
Another reported factor was that some migrants believed it would be easier to get into the U.S. after Biden's election because he campaigned with a more empathetic approach compared with Trump's controversial "zero tolerance" policy.
Nonetheless both Biden and Harris, 56, have recently told migrants "do not come" to the U.S., as the administration grapples with what critics and Biden officials have described as a "crisis" due to the dramatic increase in people hoping to cross the border.
Law enforcement authorities' encounters with migrants at the southern border have risen from about 72,000 a month to about 180,000 between October 2020 and May 2021, according to the latest U.S. Customs and Border Patrol data.