Gov. Greg Abbott announced last week that Texas will build a wall on the southern border with Mexico, giving continuity to one of Trump’s most polemic ideas. After being questioned regarding the financial capacity to start building the wall, he turned to crowdfunding.
Mr. Abbott also announced at the press conference a $250 million “down payment” for the wall that will come from the state budget, specifically from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, essentially defunding the Police and focusing that limited budget on the wall.
To be able to relocate these funds from the state budget, on May 31st of this year Mr. Abbott issued a “disaster declaration” based on an increase of illegal immigration at the Texas-Mexico border. This controversial decision has been questioned by multiple democratic officials and academics of political science since they consider it an overreach of executive powers.
Disaster declarations are normally used during natural crises. In the last year, Mr. Abbott used this tool multiple times, and for better reasons, for example, during the coronavirus pandemic where more than 50,000 Texans died, he also used it also during February’s winter storm which left millions of people in freezing temperatures without power for days. He has also used it during hurricanes and floods.
The two-term governor recognized that this declaration is unprecedented and he moved from the traditional use for disaster declarations. During the press conference last week, he declared:
“I am unaware of a governor ever declaring a disaster at county requests because of the tidal wave of illegal immigrants coming across the border, wrecking havoc in communities and residents who live here in Texas.”
Mr. Abbott’s crowdfunding for his project of the construction of the wall has not received the support he expected when he launched it. Texas has only received $459,000 in private donations during the first week according to the governor’s office. Only about 1/544th of the total the governor has allocated from taxpayers’ money.
The Governor of Texas hasn’t announced the project’s total costs or details of how long the wall will be or where it will be located. The only information the public knows as of this moment is that Mr. Abbott said he expected it to be “hundreds of miles” long.