AUSTIN, Texas — Gov. Greg Abbott was joined by sheriffs from Texas border counties on Saturday afternoon for a briefing on border security as the governor continues a push for a wall along the southern border.
Also joining the governor at the discussion at the Capitol were Texas Division of Emergency Management Chief Nim Kidd, Adjutant General of Texas Tracy Norris and Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw.
According to Abbott, sheriffs of some Texas counties have told the governor’s office they need more resources and personnel to combat gang members that operate on both sides of the border in human trafficking operations.
He said the State is working with the Texas Jail Commission and law enforcement to secure jail space for arrested migrants, as well as funding for judges to preside over the cases.
“We’re just working on the strategies that are needed to make sure the State of Texas is providing our local officials every tool and every resource they need, so that they are going to be able to keep their communities safe,” said Abbott.
The governor said “literally everybody” he’d spoken with raised concerns about high-speed cases that pose a danger to residents in border communities.
“You never know when those cars are going to be running into somebody, killing somebody who is a Texas resident,” he said.
While the governor said “the speed at which the wall will be able to be built is coming along faster than what we thought,” he did not provide details on a timeline or full price tag for the project, but said the State of Texas will cover the costs.
“We needed to hire a program manager, and the Texas Facilities Commission has already begun that process, as well as the Texas Facilities Commission has already received bids for building the wall,” Abbott said.
The governor is asking for additional appropriations from the State Legislature during the special session to fund border security projects by the State.
Last month, Abbott shared video on social media of landscaping efforts, which he said were the first stages of the border wall construction.
Experts have said that plan faces hurdles, not the least of which is how the Texas government will negotiate with private individuals and the federal government to construct the barrier on certain stretches of land. As for the cost, the state has already allocated $250 million toward the project and is soliciting private donations to help cover additional costs.
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