Texas lawmakers just approved the state’s latest effort to achieve what they claim the Biden administration has not: a secure southern border.
According to the Washington Examiner, the state Senate voted on Wednesday to pass a $1.8 billion border security bill.
Details of the bill
Known as H.B. 9, the legislation passed overwhelmingly with a vote of 23–8, the Examiner said. All that remains is for Republican Gov. Greg Abbott to sign the bill into law, which is largely a formality given his vocal support of the border security policies contained therein.
Along with a prior bill passed by the state legislature, Texas already has nearly $3 billion to use for border security — not including the $54 million the state has received in private donations.
Much of the money is expected to be used for building a wall. The Biden administration wasted no time putting a halt to the ongoing construction approved under the Trump administration.
Abbott is in an even more advantageous position than Trump in that regard since he can order the wall built on property owned by Texas citizens. Many residents have already agreed to cooperate in this process while Trump’s policy was held up by various lawsuits.
As it stands, only about 150 of the Texas-Mexico border’s 1,250 miles is protected by a barrier. The current plan is to rapidly increase that number to 733 miles.
In the short term, a temporary fence is set to be erected along the border. That is expected to be replaced by a more substantial barrier at some point in the future.
Some of the money allocated by the state legislature for border security will go to the National Guard, with the bill calling for an additional 1,800 soldiers deployed to patrol the border. It also calls for the use of special operations troopers from the Department of Public Safety.
The Texas proposal further aims to make border laws easier to enforce, including by putting up bilingual “no trespassing” signs that will allow authorities to arrest incoming migrants for trespassing.
Another aspect of the legislation is funding for an increased number of legal proceedings as well as jail expansions.
It seems clear that Texas Republicans want to pick up where Trump left off, but it remains to be seen whether other border states will follow suit.