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Texas governor vows to build his own border wall with Mexico, though questions of authority remain

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott
Posted at 12:52 PM, Jun 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-11 14:53:37-04

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Thursday signed an order that will create a state border security task force and announced plans to build more physical barriers at the U.S.-Mexican border.

Abbott made the announcement at a border security summit in Del Rio. CNN reports that the order Abbott signed appropriated $1 billion for border security.

While Abbott expressed the need for Texas to begin building "border barriers," he did not go into specifics about where such barriers would be built.

It's unclear how much authority Abbott has to build such a wall since much of the land bordering Mexico is owned by the federal government or is private property. CNN reports that Abbott will provide more information about the barriers next week.

During remarks on Thursday, Abbott added that he wanted law enforcement to begin arresting migrants who trespass on private property.

"It's not the red carpet that the Federal administration rolled out to them," Abbott said. "They're going to jail in the state of Texas."

Abbott added that any barriers the state constructs will be used to prosecute migrants.

"When anybody tries to modify or attempt to get through, that is a crime for which they can be arrested," Abbott said.

Abbott added that the plan to arrest migrants would require the cooperation of local governments and that he would work with county officials to provide more jail space if needed.

Laredo Mayor Peter Saenz told CNN that he was present at a summit meeting where Abbott described plans for his wall. Saenz said that Abbott repeatedly described the barrier as a "fence" and did not go into details about how it would be built.

Abbott's announcement came days after Vice President Kamala Harris visited Guatemala and Mexico in an effort to work with officials in those countries in the hopes of slowing the rate of undocumented immigrants coming into the country.

"Do not come. Do not come. The United States will continue to enforce our laws and secure our border. There are legal methods by which migration can and should occur," Harris said Monday.