A week after declaring a state of emergency in Texas border counties due to the arrival of undocumented immigrants, Republican Governor Greg Abbot announced on Thursday a series of measures to end illegal crossings., including the construction of a border wall and a policy of widespread arrests.
[Un pastor combate a los coyotes que se anuncian en Facebook: así son sus engaños]
Abbot reported during a border security summit in Del Rio that his government will take eight steps (including the creation of the summit) to contain migration:
- The creation of a task force that includes the majority of the state sheriffs, law enforcement agencies, correctional directors, and interested citizens.
- The $ 1 billion allocation for border security in Texas, approved by the state Congress: “More agents, more drones and more technology,” Abbot said.
- The declaration of emergency in 14 counties to guarantee more resources to combat irregular migration
- A new security plan that includes the ability to arrest anyone who enters illegally, as well as expanding prison space to detain offenders.
- Construction of new border barriers, “some of which will be lifted immediately,” according to Abbot, and of a border wall, of which he did not provide further details.
- A plan to combat drug trafficking at the border.
- Help for homeowners who have suffered financial damage from the passage of migrants, funded by the federal government.
During his speech, Abbot said that migration had made Texas communities more dangerous, a common trope that activists and immigration experts have tried to disprove over the years.
Statistics show that, overall, immigrants commit fewer violent crimes than the average US-born citizen.
Despite this, Abbot assured that the Del Río sector, where the conference was held, no longer passes “as many unaccompanied minors as dangerous people, from which surely one would not get away well if one finds them.”
Federal authorities detained more than 180,000 migrants who entered the country irregularly in May. Although this is a record number, the authorities have warned that the total number of apprehensions exceeds the number of people who have reached the border, since in many cases they are the same individuals who have been expelled multiple times throughout the coronavirus pandemic.
Abbot did not say how much the wall would cost Texas taxpayers to build, how many miles it would have to be erected or where it would be located. Instead, he assured that these details would be revealed next week.
It is not the first time that a politician promises that he will build a wall to separate Texas from Mexico.
Former President Donald Trump assured during the campaign and already in the presidency that he would build 1,000 miles of border wall along the entire border, including Texas.
[México nunca pagó el muro fronterizo. Pero ¿y el resto de promesas de Trump?]
However, the former president ended up erecting around 450 miles, the vast majority of them to replace or repair sections of wall that other administrations had already built. Only 47 miles accounted for the construction of new structures.
The cost of that wall, which ended up being built with metal fences between 18 and 30 feet high, was about $ 15 billion. Mexico did not pay for it, as Trump had promised in the campaign, but several US agencies such as the Defense Department.