Texas starts building border wall using state money and same contractor used by Trump

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Texas has broken ground on a partial border wall with Mexico, using the same contractor used by Donald Trump before his plans were subsequently scrapped by Joe Biden.

Now working under the auspices of Texas Governor Greg Abbott the very same group is pressing on with plans to construct a wall across sections of the Mexican border that remain unbuilt.

On 16 December, the first wall panels were erected in Starr County, with more to follow over the coming months. Pictures shared by Fox News correspondent Bill Melugin show the progress that has been made thus far, using what he describes as “state money” rather than federal.

“These are the first panels in what will be a 1.7-mile stretch designed to help fill gaps where there is no federal wall. More projects planned. Governor Abbott will be at the construction site tomorrow to hold 12pm ET announcement/details,” the reporter wrote.

The wall is seemingly stage two of Governor Abbott’s so called ‘Operation Lone Star’, which was established back in March in response to an apparent migrant surge.

However, civil rights groups have been highly critical of the operation, alleging that it is discriminatory, and is fanning the flames of anti-migrant sentiment in the state.

The $2bn programme was approved by Texas lawmakers, with Mr Abbott claiming that the high number of migrants crossing the border into the United States poses a security threat to the state.

“This rhetoric has deadly consequences,” said Laura Peña, legal director of the Racial and Economic Justice Program at the Texas Civil Rights Project, citing the 2019 El Paso massacre, in which a shooter targeted Latinos.

Plans for the Texan-funded border wall were approved back in June of this year. The Washington Post reports that $250m was pledged for the wall alone, which will span “hundreds of miles, according to Mr Abbott.

Greg Abbott (AP)
Greg Abbott (AP)

It remains to be seen whether the 64-year-old will be able to follow through on that pledge, as similar assurances from former President Trump ended up being hollow.

In all, 458 miles of “barrier system” were added during the Trump administration – 85 miles in new locations and 373 miles of updates.

Mr Trump said he had made the border “virtually impenetrable” but, like the wall, this claim has holes. A section in Texas, which cost $27m per mile, was reportedly breached by $5 handmade ladders in April of 2020.

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