The governor wants to finish the wall 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.

by 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 took office, close to Donna in 2019. Gov. Greg Abbott claimed Texas to plan to use state funds and also donations to continue wall construction. Credit: REUTERS/Verónica G. Cárdenas
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In 2006, president George W. Bush signed the secure Fence plot that caused the construction of 654 miles of fencing over nine years along the U.S.-Mexico border. President Donald Trump was even an ext ambitious, promise in project speeches that Mexico would pay for a wall along the 2,000-mile border.

Ultimately, Trump’s management erected around 80 miles of brand-new barrier prior to he left office, consisting of 21 at the Texas-Mexico border, paid because that by the U.S. Government. Now, Gov. Greg Abbott, a Trump support who has raised his rhetoric on immigrant in current years, has taken on the tall order of building a wall surface along the 1,200-mile Texas-Mexico border.

Currently, there are 111 mile of completed barrier at the Texas-Mexico border. Because border barriers are typically constructed some street from the Rio Grande, i m sorry has countless bends and curves, it"s unsure how numerous miles of barrier would be forced to covering the whole border.


Abbott has not in-depth how many miles of barrier the state plan to develop — or exactly where. However to make that promise a reality, the governor’s very first big hurdle is money. The state has set aside at least $250 million for the effort, Abbott said, and then solicited donations from the public. As of July 14, world have donated $829,000.

That would fund in between 7 and also 43 mile of barrier, based on the per-mile expenses of the contract initiated by the trumped administration, according to a Texas Tribune analysis. The contracts, which were put on hold by the Biden administration, ranged from $6 million to $34 million every mile for wall surface construction.


Beyond the funding challenge, Abbott have to expect yearslong legitimate challenges and opposition from private land owners, environmentalists and border citizens that could hold-up or derail his arrangement for a wall, experts, lawyers and advocates say.

But the greatest hurdle that will challenge is the federal government, which is unlikely to give any federal land — or the exclusive land the Trump administration seized — to Texas for wall construction. On his an initial day in office, president Biden approve an executive, management order call the border wall a “waste of money” and saying that it to be “not a serious policy solution.” His order likewise halted 173 miles of border building previously authorized by the trump card administration.


“I carry out think governor Abbott is severe in his intentionally to build a border wall. Ns don"t think the they have actually taken the steps vital to deal with the yes, really complexities involved,” said David Donatti, a staff attorney for the American polite Liberties Union the Texas.

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

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

Unlike the border in California, Arizona or brand-new Mexico, which mostly is federal, or in some situations tribal, land, much of the Texas-Mexico border is privately owned, v some owner holding location to your property since the 1760s. Texas does very own some land, such together state parks and also wildlife preserves.


Both the Bush and also Trump administrations faced legal and also logistical obstacles with building a border barrier in Texas.

According come a 2020 federal government Accountability Office report, the Trump administration faced delays that 21 to 30 month to take over privately-owned land in south Texas. The report said comparable land repurchase in various other parts that the nation took a year.

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

Another hurdle Abbott will many likely challenge is federal regulations aimed at protecting the environment, water quality and historic sites. The Trump management waived countless of those rules to rate up the wall construction, despite pushback from environmentalists.


The Biden administration isn’t most likely to ignore those legislations for Abbott’s wall project, said Scott Nicol, a McAllen-based eco-friendly activist and author of a 2018 ACLU report examining the effects of a border wall.

“Those are laws that defend Native American graves, over there are laws that room meant to protect family farms,” Nicol said. “Abbott"s walking to need to comply through all those laws. Trump didn"t. That best there is walking to reason large headaches.”

Abbott’s office did no respond come emailed questions around how the state to plan to get over the obstacles of building a wall.

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


Abbott had declared a disaster along some border counties, i beg your pardon could allow him come waive part state and local regulations. However “it would certainly not expand to federal law, since federal regulation is can be fried to the regulations of the state of Texas,” Donatti said.

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

Jenn Budd, a former Border Patrol agent, stated that obstacles or wall surfaces make the harder because that migrants to overcome the border, forcing them come seek assist from smugglers associated to medicine cartels whose job is to discover ways approximately those barriers.

“Our deterrence policies, our fencing, our walls, simply make it a small bit harder come cross, yet it doesn"t protect against it,” she said. “And more than anything, it funnels migrants into places wherein have much more control.”


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

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