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Texas begins building its own border wall to curb surge in illegal immigration

U.S. National Guard members patrol an unfinished section of border wall on November 18, 2021, in La Joya, Texas. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) recorded more than 164,000 apprehensions of illegal migrants in October.
U.S. National Guard members patrol an unfinished section of border wall on November 18, 2021, in La Joya, Texas. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) recorded more than 164,000 apprehensions of illegal migrants in October. | Brandon Bell/Getty Images

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced that the state has begun construction on a border wall, which it's working to build to counter what it views as the Biden administration’s lackluster enforcement of U.S. immigration laws.

“Texas has officially started building its own border wall,” Abbott announced in a tweet Friday. “[President Joe] Biden allows open border policies and refuses to enforce laws passed by Congress to secure the border and enforce immigration laws. Texas is stepping up to do the federal government’s job.”

Abbott also shared a series of photos originally posted by Fox News reporter Bill Melugin showing the construction. “Texas has officially started building its own border wall,” he said. “The first wall panels have gone up in Starr County in the [Rio Grande Valley].”

Melugin noted that while the construction is occurring on state land with state money, the contractor building the wall was building the wall spearheaded by the Trump administration until Biden stopped construction of the wall when he took office. The Fox News reporter included a picture of “the first panels in what will be a 1.7 mile stretch designed to help fill gaps where there is no federal wall.”

Shortly before former President Donald Trump left office, then-Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf announced the completion of “the 450th mile of new border wall system built under this administration.” In a statement, Abbott’s office elaborated on the state’s effort to pick up where the Trump administration left off by restarting the wall's construction.

“Open-border policies have led to a humanitarian crisis at our southern border as record levels of illegal immigrants, drugs and contraband pour into Texas. The state of Texas is working collaboratively with communities impacted by the border crisis to arrest and detain individuals coming into Texas illegally. Our efforts will only be effective if we work together to secure the border, make criminal arrests, protect landowners, rid our communities of dangerous drugs, and provide Texans with the opportunity and support they deserve.”

Texas first announced plans to construct a border wall at a press conference in June, with Abbott authorizing a $250 million down payment. The governor described the construction of a wall as necessary because of concern that “the problems people are continuing to suffer on the border are just continuing to get worse.”

At the time, the most recent statistics from U.S. Customs and Border Protection showed that more than 170,000 migrants illegally crossed the U.S.-Mexico border in April. The crossings continued to increase throughout the summer, reaching a record high of 213,593 in July.

While the number of encounters between illegal migrants and law enforcement officials had dropped to 173,620 in November, the most recent month with statistics available, the number of border crossings remains significantly higher than the 101,099 recorded in February 2021, Biden’s first full month in office.

Critics of the Biden administration have attributed the border surge to the Biden administration’s reversal of two of the Trump administration’s immigration policies, in addition to the halting of wall construction. The Migrant Protection Protocols required migrants seeking asylum to wait in Mexico while their asylum cases were adjudicated, while Title 42, implemented during the coronavirus pandemic, allowed border officials to turn away illegal immigrants due to a concern about public health.

A federal court ruling forced the Biden administration to restart the Migrant Protection Protocols, also known as the Remain in Mexico policy, earlier this month. The Department of Homeland Security has vowed to “vigorously contest the ruling” and criticized the Migrant Protection Protocols for its “endemic flaws, imposed unjustifiable human costs” and failure to “address the root causes of irregular migration.”

Public opinion polling suggests that Abbott is not the only one dissatisfied with Biden’s immigration policies. The RealClearPolitics average of polls taken over the past month-and-a-half reveal that the president’s approval rating on the issue of immigration is deeply underwater, with 34.7% of Americans approving of his immigration policy and 60.6% expressing disapproval.

The net disapproval rating of 26% on the issue of immigration is far higher than his overall disapproval rating, as well as his disapproval ratings on the economy, foreign policy and the coronavirus pandemic.

Abbott is scheduled to appear at the construction site Saturday to offer more details on the project. He has previously described the state’s border wall construction project as “the most robust and comprehensive border plan the nation has ever seen.”

Ryan Foley is a reporter for The Christian Post. He can be reached at: ryan.foley@christianpost.com

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