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Gov. Abbott and Former President Trump visit Texas-Mexico border, state lawmakers react

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Posted at 6:47 PM, Jul 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-01 20:10:58-04

Within his first few days in office President Biden stopped construction on the Texas-Mexico border wall, started by the Trump administration, but this hasn't stopped efforts to continue with construction.

Former President Donald Trump and Governor Greg Abbott visited the border on Wednesday, June 30, citing a record-high influx of migrants at the border and crime as the main reason why construction on the wall must continue.

Gov. Abbott who is up for re-election has made border security, one of his top priorities. Abbott enacted a disaster declaration in June for the 34 counties on the Texas-Mexico border, because of the increase of asylum seekers.

This declaration has allowed Abbott to request the reallocation of $250 million of legislative funds which would now go toward border wall construction. Nearly half a million dollars has also been collected in private donations.

“The people of Texas have been pleading for us to be able to step up and be able to restore safety and security in their lives,” Gov. Abbott said. “That is why Texas is stepping up and doing a job that is truly the federal government's job.”

Former President Trump and Gov. Abbott criticizing the Biden Administration as to how they have handle immigration and border security.

“We're not only talking about people we're talking about millions of people coming in, but we're also talking about drugs were talking about human trafficking,” said Former President Trump.

Feelings echoed by congressional leaders like Congressman Roger Williams, who represents the 25th Congressional District.

“We're headed well over a million people coming across the border illegally and 180,000 confrontations, just in May,” said Congressman Williams. “The Border Patrol is overwhelmed.”

Williams said he has taken dozens of trips to the border since 2005, but this trip highlighted what he says is the urgent need for border protection.

“The Biden administration has just dropped it and they've sent a message that it's okay to come here illegally. We probably need to go back to what the Trump Administration did you know, don't have catch and release. I mean, we are a land of laws, we don’t want people coming over illegally,” Congressman Williams said.

Gaping holes in the walls and deserted equipment all signs of no interest in maintaining what was already built according to Williams.

“When you see a wall that frankly now is deteriorating is not painted is not maintained. There's old equipment in between that we just left. That's discouraging, it reminds us that we do need to secure our borders,” said Congressman Williams.

However, some legislators believe building a wall will not keep people from coming into the country illegally.

“We just believe that we should do it through policy and intelligent border security to technology aerostats more boots on the ground,” said Congressmen Vicente Gonzalez representing the 15th congressional district. “You can build all the walls you want but without a policy in place that prevents people from coming even when there is a wall, it doesn't matter that you have the wall.”

Congressmen Gonzalez said Texas has bigger fish to fry. Gonzalez is one of many Texas Democrats who say more energy needs to be poured into fixing the power grid, especially after calls to conserve energy this summer.

Congressman Gonzalez said, “We still remember this winter of losing power and losing a lot of lives in the state of Texas. People would much rather have that money spent fixing the electrical grid in the middle of a scorching hot summer, we're still very, very worried.”

Gonzalez acknowledges there is an ongoing problem at the border but believes there are better ways to address it.

“We should invest in sensors, cutting edge technology that already exists and that will ultimately bring real border security to our country,” said Congressman Gonzalez.

State Democrats and Republicans have continuously disagreed on how to handle immigration and border security.

At this time, it’s unclear when construction on the wall would begin again. Federal lawmakers saying building parts of the Texas border wall would cost at least $26.5 million per mile.