Abbott signs orders to construct barriers, wall in Texas

Gov. Greg Abbott unveiled his plan to fund and construct barriers and a border wall in the state of Texas during a news conference at the Capitol in Austin on Wednesday, evoking former President Donald Trump’s policies as a standard bearer.

A transfer of $250 million from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice was authorized by the governor, lieutenant governor and other lawmakers to serve as a “down payment” on the construction of the wall, including hiring a program manager and contractors.

The governor described building barriers and a wall — two different types of construction.

“As we speak during this press conference right now,” Abbott said, “there are state agencies talking to land owners on the border about putting up fencing on their private land to prevent the dramatic influx that these landowners have been suffering from over the past few months.”

The barriers will have “no trespassing” signs.

“Anybody who comes through or around, or near that barrier is subject to being arrested for aggravated trespassing, because these counties are subject to a disaster declaration,” Abbott explained, referring to enhanced punishment for certain crimes under a disaster declaration.

Barriers are only a “stop-gap” effort compared to the wall the governor said they’re intending to build. A program manager to be hired by the Texas Facilities Commission will be charged with its construction.

Part of the manager’s duties will be to identify land available for the wall. They will prioritize property owned by the state, local governments or land owners who want to volunteer their land.

Aside from the $250 million, a website is also being used to crowdsource donations. The Texas Division of Emergency Management and the Office of the Governor will track the use of the money.

A letter addressed to President Joe Biden was also signed to ask for land taken for border wall construction under the last administration.

“I am demanding that the Biden administration immediately return to Texans land that the federal government took to build the wall. Texas will talk to those property owners about Texas using that land to build the wall,” the governor said.

Shortly after the news conference, the Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush said the construction will receive emergency authorization on state lands.

The state owns about 591,595 surface acres along the border, the Texas General Land Office stated in a news release.

“The GLO will partner with state and local officials to expedite the completion of the barrier needed to protect Texans from smuggling, crime, and trafficking,” they added.


In addition to details regarding Abbott’s plans to build more barriers in the state, his office on Wednesday also confirmed President Trump’s social media post from the day prior, stating that the former commander-in-chief would visit Texas later this month.

Trump shared the news via Gab, a social media site used to organize the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol, stating, “I have accepted the invitation of Texas Governor Greg Abbott to join him on an official visit to our Nation’s decimated Southern Border on Wednesday, June 30, 2021.”

The former president critiqued the Biden administration’s response to the rising number of people crossing the border seeking asylum.

“My visit will hopefully shine a spotlight on these crimes against our Nation—and show the incredible people of ICE and Border Patrol that they have our unshakeable support,” Trump said.

Trump recently endorsed Abbot for reelection. On June 1, the governor shared a statement via Twitter that said, “I thank President Trump for his leadership, and I will continue to fight for the values that make Texas the greatest state in America.”

Though the governor’s office confirmed the news Wednesday, no further details — such as whether it will entail a trip to the Rio Grande Valley — were provided about the visit.

Abbott pointed to the Trump administration during his news conference Wednesday as having more effective border security measures than his successor, continuing to indicate aligned thinking between the two with regard to immigration policy and enforcement.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This post has been updated to correct a number.